Tweaked the layout. Hope you like it better.
So there’s this guy on my youth team. We disagree pretty regularly. And I love it.
We both are at completely different life stages. He’s in his 40’s, with three teenage children. He has a very prestigious position in his company, and he worked from the bottom up to get there. He’s never been to college; as a matter of fact, he barely made it through high school. He’s a high-motor, self-made visionary who doesn’t take no for an answer. As a result, he has pretty strong opinions on, well, just about everything. He’s an idea-generator. He’s bottom-line driven. He’s not afraid to jump into the deep end and try something crazy just to see if it works.
I, on the other hand, come from a completely different perspective. I’m in my late 20’s (it was really hard to type that!). I have two very young children. I’m a corporate trainer; just another guy punching a clock. I never completed college, but I did graduate in the top 10% of my high school class of 575, and came close to completing my AA degree. I have a couple of professional certifications, and am generally considered by friends to be a little (well…more than a little) nerdy. I’m low-key. I’m analytical. I like to evaluate and re-evaluate everything that could possibly go wrong before I make try something. The bottom line isn’t nearly as important to me as the process it took to get there. I like to KNOW something will work before I try it.
As you can see, this creates many opportunities for disagreement…and of course, we’ve always been taught that disagreement is bad. Corporations pays big bucks to teach their people conflict resolution skills. Disagreement is uncomfortable.
But is conflict really that bad? Consider the alternative. What if you built a youth team where everyone was just like you? What if everyone always agreed with you? What if every idea you came up with got rubber-stamped? What if every process you created was met with nothing but approval? What kind of youth ministry would you have? Maybe a good one…but do you really know how much better it COULD be?
Diversity of thought on a youth team doesn’t always happen naturally. We tend to surround ourselves with people who think like us. However, if we do that, we miss the variety of perspectives we could have had if we were willing to put our feelings aside and look at things objectively. Because at the end of the day…if we’re all striving for the same thing (namely, impacting our students), there should be no sacred cows. We should be willing to throw any and every process, idea, etc. out the door that doesn’t weather the storm of a little scrutiny. I know this hurts, but, if your idea, if your process can’t handle a little criticism, it’s probably not the best way to go to begin with. It’s not an assault on your character or you as a person…it’s an effort to build the best process for connecting your students to God.
So, frankly, I love it. I love it when this guy challenges my approach. I love it when he finds holes in my plans. I love it when he takes my eyes off of the big picture and reminds me there is a bottom line we are trying to reach. I love it when we go over my plans again and again until they are either refined, or trashed. I love it when he comes up with some wild, crazy idea, and we go back and forth until we either figure out a process or decide it won’t work. And I love it, that, three days later, we can put our arms around each other and worship God together and pray with each other in the altar, just like we did this past Sunday.
So, please….for the sake of our students…disagree with me!