Thursday, April 9, 2009

I'm feeling a little depressed right now. It is frustrating because I know I shouldn't be and that makes it ever worse. In Youth we had been running around 40 and as much as 50 for a couple of months now, then for some reason the past 2 weeks we have dropped off to less than 30. I don't know exactly why. I know where a few of the students were last night, and I know where a small group is and why they likely won't be coming back, but I don't know where two of the other groups have disappeared to and why. I ran into a couple of the girls yesterday and they told me they were coming tonight, but then church time rolled around without them being there.

I feel guilty for being depressed about this because I know that the number game is dangerous to get into. There will be highs and lows and if I invest too much into that I will be up and down with the numbers. Here I sit feeling down and telling myself I shouldn't feel down which makes me feel more ... down. It really is a vicious cycle.

On the other hand there have been some serious highs too. I'll be starting a smoking cessation class for teens in a couple of weeks. This class will get me some valuable face time with "at risk" teens. I just finished my training and have talked to the head of the community group that is sponsoring the classes about starting in a couple of weeks. This is something I'm really excited about and believe it is an answer to my prayers about finding ways to build relationships with teens outside the church.

9 comments:

Helen said...

Nick, that happens with adults, too. That doesn't mean they aren't coming back, just that they are busy. I used to belong to a Catholic Charismatic prayer group. Some weeks we would have twenty people. Other weeks we would have eight people. Sometimes people just get caught up in other stuff. I am sure that is hard for you, because you work so hard to prepare to bless them.
Attendence will fluctuate. But it's not you. It's life. (I hope I don't sound flippant. I don't mean to be. I want to be comforting, but sometimes tone is hard to convey in print)

Nick the Geek said...

Helen,

I know and that is why I know I shouldn't be bothered. I also know one of the groups is unlikely to be coming back. Bit of an annoying story but they are only 4 or 5 and we did have 3 visitors last night.

I don't know why I'm bothered when I know I shouldn't be and that it what is really bugging me.

Luckygirl said...

Hope you feel better soon, Nick. I was an event coordinator at my last job and I agree - numbers can really affect you. And I wasn't in the ministry, so I can only imagine it's harder when more is at stake.

I do think the smoking cessation thing is awesome! Have you read the book, "They like Jesus but not the Church"? It's written for church staff, but I am reading it right now just to figure out how I can be a better missionary in my everyday life. Anyway, when I read about the smoking cessation that you are doing for teens, it reminded me of the book. Very cool.

jasonS said...

I know how you feel. We had been that way in church recently and then last week we were only about half full. I know it's not about numbers, but it makes you look and say, "did I do something?"

Honestly, I think the best thing is to say, "you know what I'm bothered by this, Lord. Maybe I shouldn't be, but I am. I just need your help."

At least that's what I try to do when I remember! :)

jasperseng said...

Hey, I have no idea who you are but whole i was googling for broken heart.. i accidentally found your blog...

The first thing that came into my mind when i read through you blog is The Parable Of The Lost Sheep.
Matthew 18:12-14

so do not worry about the numbers ok... God will seek His sheep... even if one is gone He will seek.

take care bro... i have a friend just like you... a Youth pastor.

Helen said...

You are bothered because you give so much to the Youth Group, and it hurts when they don't come to receive what you are giving.
The bright side is that it gives you a good understanding of how Jesus feels.

Nick the Geek said...

jason,
Thanks. It is good to know I'm not alone if feeling frustrated about these things. I do tell God how frustrated I am when I'm feeling down. In the middle it usually doesn't help much but it is nice afterward to see the things God did for me even in the middle.

Luckygirl,
Actually I'm feeling better today. I got out for a night hike with my pastor last night and between the exercise, talking with him for a couple hours, and getting actual sleep last night I feel much better. I haven't read that book but I'll look into it. I just ordered another book to add to my "must read" pile but I'll look into that one for a near future purchase. It sounds neat.

I am very excited that God keeps giving me opportunities like the smoking cessation class. I ask for ways to reach Youth where they are and He provides.

jasperseng,
Thank you for coming by and commenting. I tried to visit your blog but I can't read Malaysian. I assume it is Malaysian but I can't get far enough to tell the difference. Thank you for your advice. I love the lost sheep and prodigal son. Around here there are some that distort the parables to make it sound like the pastor is responsible to chase after each sheep that goes astray. They miss that God is the one who seeks and saves the lost. We only go where He calls.

Helen,
I wish I was so just as to be bothered for such righteous reasons. I'm sure that is a big part but I worry that my reasons are more a questions of my own pride. I feel like I'm doing something right when the group grows even though I have no idea what is bringing them in and I feel like I did something wrong when they don't show. Did you catch the important part there ... "I." Less of me and more of You. That is the prayer I need to pray but I'm afraid to because of my ego. Weird huh?

Chris said...

Okay, I know that you know this. But one kid who "gets" it is worth the heartbreak over the 30 that just come because it's the in thing on the social calendar for the night. Are the missing kids already Christians or kids who are just coming?

It's all about the seed planted, even if you don't get to see the fruit.

It sounds like you have a lot of kids coming whose parents don't also attend, and those are so tough. Do y'all do any sort of outreach to the families?

Nick the Geek said...

Chris,

That is actually something we are planning for right now. I want to do more community outreaches and to target the families of our students (teen and younger) that don't attend the church. I have about half a dozen ideas but getting it all in place is tough.

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