Last weekend over a hundred middle school workers gathered for the third annual Middle School Ministry Campference. In one of our sessions my good friend, Eddie Northen, shared for exactly 5 minutes on the topic, “Three Things Youth Ministry Can Learn From Corporate America”. Eddie is the Vice President of Financial Initiatives (or something like that) for UPS. He’s kinda a big deal…and he absolutely loves youth ministry! I thought I’d share with you the three things he shared with us:
1) Learn Something From Everybody You Work For: Eddie has been at UPS for 28 years and has had over 30 direct supervisors! He said he realized early on that he could pretty much ignore them (since they obviously weren’t gonna be around for long) OR he could determine to learn something from each of them that would benefit him in his roles. He chose the later and feels like it was one of the best decisions he made early in his career. Everybody has something to teach you…if you are willing to learn.
QUESTION: Is there somebody further “up the ladder” at your church that you can learn from?
2) Use Data To Make Decisions: UPS, as does most of corporate America, loves data. They are constantly looking for new ways to gather data and new ways to use it to help them make business decisions. He recognized the tension churches face concerning data and “numbers”, but urged us to recognize that “data” and “numbers” are really just clumps of valuable information that we shouldn’t be afraid of or feel guilty for paying attention to.
QUESTION: When is the last time your purposely gathered data in your ministry and used it to help make an important decision?
3) Don’t Be Afraid To Take Risks. He was talking to a room full of middle school youth workers, so taking risks probably isn’t something we are afraid of! But, he was quick to point out that sometimes the biggest risks aren’t necessarily the ones that look the most obvious. Sometimes the biggest risk is tweaking with a sacred cow, making a slight course correction when you are the only one who thinks it’s needed, etc. Good stuff!
QUESTION: Is there a “risk” you have been avoiding in your ministry setting?