While we very much so value relational youth ministry, there are some among us who embrace an emergency room mentality towards our ministry – traversing from one kid’s personal crisis to another last minute prep for a program to drama within our own lives. Seth Godin recently blogged about those who view their jobs as if they were emergency room doctors.
It’s a mindset, not just a job.
You can pitch them as hard as you like about having them work to persuade their patients to give up smoking (after all, it saves lives in the long run), but I think you’ll find that they’re a lot more interested in stopping the bleeding.
We need emergency room doctors, no doubt. I just wonder if we have too many of them in your organization. If all we do is reward fast first aid in what people do at work, is it any wonder we don’t have enough attention to the strategy and choices that would eliminate the need for all that running around in the first place?
It helps to know how prevalent the "emergency room" culture is before you start training your people on a new long-term strategy.
There is a need for short-term thinking in ER youth ministry. There is also a personal rush of feeling significant in ER-YM, of being in the center of the storm… but none of this is empowering others towards sustainable youth ministry in the long run, none of this take a serious look at the long run… What if we did take a serious look at the strategy and choices that would eliminate the need for all that running around in the first place? What is your shared vision for the long run and how are you working towards incrementally on a consistent basis?
And, ladies and gentlemen, if’n ever I was to get a book published, you just read the first three hundred words.