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Youth Pastor Perfectionism


Youth Pastor Perfectionism

If you are a youth pastor in a small or big church, you are compelled to do a great job.

In our church setting, we are compelled to come across as:

really Christian,

emotionally and spiritually healthy,

we are always available to help others move,

we have all the time in the world to be with people,

that we are NEVER mad,

and that we have it figured it out–most of the time.

Youth pastors put these demands on ourselves because we want to be faithful with what God has given us. Right?  Youth pastors are the slave of the church because we want to pursue excellence in everything we do.

Wow.  Those are some pretty high expectations in order to be excellent.  Unfortunately there is a cost when we don’t have a healthy understanding of what it means to pursue excellence in our youth ministries.  We can easily equate perfectionism = excellence.

Perfectionism is not the same as the healthy pursuit of excellence.  Youth pastor perfectionism is when we feel driven, stressed, and constantly unhappy with ourselves, our achievements, and our relationship with others.

Perfectionism  is…

When you feel stressed and driven and motivated by the fear of failure.

The Healthy Pursuit of Excellence is….

When you feel creative and motivated by feelings of enthusiasm.

Perfectionism is…

Your accomplishments never seem to satisfy you.

The Healthy Pursuit of Excellence is….

Your efforts give you feelings of joy and satisfaction.

Perfectionism is…

You feel you must impress others with your intelligence or accomplishments to get them to like and respect you.

The Healthy Pursuit of Excellence is….

You do not feel that you have to earn love or friendship by impressing people.  You know that people will accept you as you are.

Perfectionism is…

If you make a mistake or fail to achieve an important goal, you become self critical and feel like a failure as a human being.

The Healthy Pursuit of Excellence is…

You are not afraid to make mistakes.  You see failures as an opportunity for growth and learning. 

Youth pastors are you a perfectionist?  Are you an emotional and spiritual perfectionist?  Do you want your church and your church staff to perceive you as perfect?  Then why are you saying Yes to everything?  Why do you remain silent when you have thoughts or opinions?

Bottom line:  There is a big cost trying to make everyone think you are a perfect youth pastor.  I am not saying we get lazy and not strive for greatness and excellence.  Where would youth ministry be without the accomplishments of:  Marko, Doug Fields, Duffy Robbins, Chap Clark, Kendra Dean, Yaconelli?

Rebuke your thoughts of:

“I must always try to be perfect.”

“People will think less of me if I fail or make a mistake.”

“I must be outstanding to be worthwhile and loved by others.”

If you find yourself saying:  SORRY a lot, then you may struggle with perfectionism.

Let us (youth pastors) not buy into one of the commonest self-defeating beliefs of perfectionism.  Perfectionism has very suttle and indirect impressions on you and your youth ministry.  However perfectionism will eventually kill you and your youth ministry.  So identify it and start pursuing a real perspective of greatness.

About Jeremy Zach

Orange XP3 Specialist | Youth Worker | MDIV | Hot Sauce Addict | Dr. Dre Beats Lover

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