Once in awhile, Weird Al Yankovic says something better than I ever could. This is one of those times.
(There’s some satirical dancing with some chest and bum shaking. You’ve been warned)
I’ve been on a bit of a self-enforced sabbatical from writing (more on that later this week). But sometimes things force you to respond. This is one of those moments (thanks Facebook trending notifications!) What can I add, except sometimes Youth Ministry can be so TACKY! The worst part is sometimes we’re intentional about it. Like there’s some 11th commandment from God saying, “Thou shalt have tacky youth ministry!” Sometimes we’re unable to just be normal.
Stop trying so hard.
It seems often we force a cheesy theme, youth group name, and skit into everything we do. The result is the ministry feels forced, and reeks of try-hard. Now I’m not saying there’s no time for laughs or skits. But often, I think we are simply trying too hard to be relevant or have kids like us.
Be Yourself, Be Real
You know what young people love? Authenticity. Be real. If you’re a goofball, then goof off. If you’re someone who loves to listen, listen tons! We need to surround ourselves with team members who have a variety of gifts and temperaments to connect with the variety of young people we are engaging. Don’t overstretch who you are and what you can do. Find your sweet spot.
“Be who you are, and be it well” – St. Francis de Sales
5 Ways to Avoid Tacky
- Ask yourself, is this essential? Sometimes we force things into our ministry that simply don’t need to be there.
- Plan it! Don’t wing skits. That’s called improv. And unless you’ve done improv before, you probably suck at it.
- Remember your audience. What was funny back at youth group in 1997 probably isn’t today. Stay in touch please.
- Be like a TV network. Have test groups! Try out your ideas on people before you run with them! Cancel bad ideas!
- Evaluate. Best way to judge if you’re being tacky – pay attention to how your audience reacts! If your students are begging you to stop playing the same lame game or awkwardly laughing at your skits… it isn’t working! Remember you are trying to break the ice and make connections, not make things even more awkward!
It is ok to plan themes, skits, jokes, and “hooks” for outreach once in awhile. Just remember the greatest hook you’ll ever use is yourself. Don’t be tacky, be yourself.