Programs Lie

This post is serving 2 functions, 1) a response/rebuttal to this post by Joshua Becker over at and 2) a reminder to myself to take my own advice.

I'm a large crowd kinda guy.  Put me in a room with 5 or 6 strangers and I'm uncomfortable, awkward, and even shy.  Put me in front of 50-100 people with a microphone and I'll talk about anything.  It's a weird dynamic especially considering I had a fear of public speaking up until college.

So my tendency in ministry is to try to create the largest setting possible and be "the guy" (because if everyone knows me, I don't have to introduce myself and be social).  Because God likes to laugh and answer prayers (Lord, please use me and stretch me), I'm now in a small church (about 130 total) with a small youth group (about 20).  It makes life...challenging for a small group introvert (SGI).

So. That's me.  And what I've been learning lately is how much programs lie.  When you think of any "successful" youth ministry model birthed out of some "successful" church, the natural reaction is to think, "we gotta do THAT!".  Here's where the program lies...

1) You can pull that off.  In some cases I've been smart enough to say, "No, we can't." Sadly, this is more the exception than the rule.  When it comes down to it, a fun sized ministry doesn't have the facility, money, volunteer base, or wait for it....the calling to do that awesome program.

2) This is going to grow our ministry.  Maybe. Maybe not.  And more often than not, the thing that's growing that other ministry isn't really the program, it's something else (a new leader, a new building, a spiritual awakening, a bigger budget, etc.).

3) This will help us build relationships.  You know what builds relationships? Talking.  You know what you can't do well in a big crowd?  Yep, the thing that makes fun sized ministries great is the EXACT thing the larger churches are trying to accomplish!  For more on this, check out Josh's post.

What other lies do you think programming tells us in a small church environment?  Or what kind of programming can really thrive in a small church environment?