Do you justify the relationships you make? Are you someone who thinks there must be a reason for your relationships?
As a youth worker my role is to develop relationships with young people. I am commanded to build trusted relationships. It is that simple.
But in order to gain funding for this work I am told to justify my relationships:
- To make something else happen
- Was the young person changed
- To make up numbers
- Did they achieve something
The list goes on. I wonder whether in Christian youth work we are also commanded to justify our work. How many conversions did you achieve this year/month/week? How many ‘bums’ on pews did you get?
I believe that this is false expectations. Jesus had an agenda to help people see the kingdom of God had arrived, but he left the choice up to them. Our relationships with young people can have a profound effect on them but it is their choice. Our basic requirement is to develop those relationships and not to prove our need based on achievements. We need to develop relationships where young people are valued, safe and they find time to be themselves and if on that journey they find Jesus, excellent. If not, the relationship is still valuable.
Be passionate about the work you do and what you achieve but don’t allow yourself to enter into the culture of outcomes and targets.