if i wasn't a youth worker, i would . . .

Break Dancer

Sometimes I think about what life would be like if I wasn't a youth worker.  It has been said that it takes about 10,000 hours at something before you become a master at it.  Instead of devoting 10,000 hours mastering the craft of youth ministry, here are some other tracks that I would have enjoyed pursuing: DUBSTEP: (These guys are amazing.  In my heart I have always wanted to dance, but for whatever reason, I could never make my body do what my brain was thinking.  I have my dancing career after only one hour.  Who knew I only need 9,999 more to be like this guy?)



JOIN TEAM EDWARD: (I don't think this takes 10,000 hours, but it sure feels like it if you count the time reading the books, watching the movies, and general obsessing about it.  Based on the peeps at the premiere, I think they got their 10,000 hours in.)



UKULELE: (With only 3 hours under my belt, I was able to lead worship with our ukulele band) [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PB3RbO7updc]


EXTREME MOUNTAINBIKING: (What sort of job allows the lifestyle to master mountain biking and then mountain bike on several continents?)



OCCUPY SOMETHING (I know that doesn't take 10,000 hours, but It would be great to stick it to the man!)



BE RANKED IN MODERN WARFARE: (I hung up my xbox controller after Halo.  If we could have all stayed at the James Bond on Nintendo there wouldn't be such a huge disparity in gaming skills between the 1% and the 99%.)



SURF: (It is true that I did my share of surfing while at school in UC Santa Barbara.  But paddling out in 2' rolling waves did not prepare me for a surf trip to mexico where I spent the week scraping my face off the bottom of the ocean floor and thus ending my surfing career.  A few more hours and zero regard for pain, I could have done this as well.)



BE THIS GUY: (Just watch and see.)



OR THIS GUY: (My more artistic side.)



Actually, the more that I think about it, I would rather enjoy a funny youtube video here and there, and spend the next 10,000 hours pouring my life into students so that they may come to know the love and grace of Jesus Christ.

What are you spending your 10,000 hours mastering?

why we sit on our butts and miss out on our calling part 2: laziness

lazy gamer

Continued From Part 1: Poor Theology Many of us in ministry feel like there is an unrealized call on our lives. I know, at least for me, I have certain things God has put in my heart to do and to be. Most of them have to do with my local context and some have a larger scope.

What I have noticed is that there is some poor theology, laziness, and fear of failure that justifies why I am stagnate in my professional development and not living into the larger dream God has put in my life. In my last post I looked at poor theology, and this post I will examine how laziness is a huge deterrent from running after our dream.

Laziness: We live in an instant gratification society. Everything in our world is about getting a quick buck and becoming instantly famous. We want to graduate from college or seminary and land a $100,000 a year job. We are called and gifted and should work within our strengths. We want to be high level managers without working through the ranks.

A few years ago I had a conversation with a recent college grad who had a huge heart for ministry and amazing gifts for it as well. She wanted to pour her lives into high school girls. She really only wanted to do the deep relational work of youth ministry. There was no space for things like games, middle school boys, parents, logistics, etc. What I didn't have the heart to tell her is that her passions lined up perfectly with a volunteer youth worker. But what I did tell her is that the kind of job she dreams about having is a great dream. But that job happens down the road in ministry. You have to pay your dues, take jobs that are not ideal, do tasks that are boring and uninspiring. But if you swim in the right pond, then you have a real opportunity to work towards the dream job in ministry, whatever that takes. The one thing it will for sure take is hard work and effort.

I am sad to admit that I enjoy the show American Idol. It is everyone's dream, including mine, that someone will come across my amazing talent and promote me to the top of my field. But after 10+ seasons with thousands and thousands of contestants, only 2 have really become famous. That is because there is a rule that works again this get famous quick dream. It is the rule of 10,000 hours.

Malcolm Gladwell sites this study in his book Outliers where he argues that people at the top of their field got there because they had put in a minimum of 10,000 hours of practice. He sites famous musicians, writers, artists, programmers, all got there through hours and hours of practice. His two most interesting examples were Bill Gates and The Beatles.

To be the top of your field in wherever you are called takes intentional time and hard work. Writing a few blogs, speaking at a couple of camps, running a stable youth ministry, that is easy. You are naturally gifted, and your gifts and calling can get you pretty far, but to take any of those things to the next level take hours and hours of intentional practice, evaluation, and more practice. Here is a plan to do that. Seth Godin has another take here. Either way it takes some smarts and lots of hard work.

Besides the 10,000 hours we need to put in, we also must come to terms with our genuine obstacles. Personally, you might not have enough education or experience, or your skill set might be lacking. In your local context, the obstacles might be the number of students, the health of our church, or our budget. In a larger context it might be your lack of connections and opportunities. Obstacles are called obstacles because they are things that interrupt the easy and natural flow. Everyone has them, and it simply takes time and effort to overcome them.

All of us are willing to work hard in the short term if there are instant benefits. But if we are truly going to run after our dream, our true calling, then we have to get to work. The "poor me" card gets old really fast, and un-checked envy causes deep seeded resentment and bitterness. The kings in their respected fields all got there partly because they have some amazing gifts and used their connections, but mostly, they got there through an incredible work ethic.

If we are going to be who God has called us to be, then we must work hard! It is a crime to think that simply updating your facebook, collecting friends on twitter, and reading a bunch of books and blogs about going after it, will somehow result in you living into the vision God himself has put in your heart. If you are going to go after it, then you MUST get off the couch, wake up earlier, come up with a plan and begin to work it out.

Today is a great day to started!

Part 3: Fear of Failing