Immaturity is the bane of youth ministry’s existence. The problem with immaturity in youth ministry is even though it can kill a ministry it’s somewhat accepted and too often even celebrated. After all, you need to be a little wacky to be a youth worker, right? And while it’s fun to play pranks on the senior pastor or host Slime Nights in the sanctuary, immaturity has a serious cost. Immaturity brings a lack of trust, repeated questioning of purpose, lack of respect and always having people look over your shoulder. While I have had many conversation with senior pastors about the immaturity of youth workers, I have seldom seen workshops for youth workers on facing your immaturity. We don’t like to deal with it but we need to. Consider the following long-lasting effects immaturity can have:
1. Stuntted Personal Growth
When immaturity is not confronted it’s allowed to grow wildly and keeps a person from growth spiritually and emotionally. This stuntedness will cap growth and lead to an adulthood of missed opportunity. Personal growth just doesn’t happen by magic; it’s actually takes maturity to apply life lessons in order to change behavior.
2. Damaging Ministry
Immaturity starts with talking stupid and ends with driving the church van too fast and getting a ticket, or worse having an accident. Immaturity in youth ministry is putting “being liked” ahead of the spiritual development of students. Any time you do that you damage the ministry. Students might like you but the ministry of Christ will not be happening.
Immaturity limits your relationships, the kind of job you can get and potentially your family. There may be opportunities that are never presented to you because of immaturity, opportunities that could change your life. When a youth worker is immature they trade a short-term good feeling for long-term pain. Crazy behavior might win students’ favor in the short-run but it truly limits the effectiveness for a lifetime.