9/16/14

Why I fired my husband from my youth ministry

Today I read an honest and insightful post about the 2 for 1 deal by YMJen. You can read that HERE.  I even wrote a little about the 2 for 1 deal in my book, A Woman in Youth Ministry. Jen's post made we want to touch on it a bit more. What is the 2 for 1 deal? It's when a church hires YOU but really hired you because you came with a spouse who is expected to be actively involved in your youth ministry too. This happens to both men and women in youth ministry.

I used to think the 2 for 1 deal worked in my favor and naively bought into it as a "selling point" when candidating at different churches.  In more recent years I've wised up and learned a thing or two about the 2 for one lie. Some of my past experiences were much like what Jen wrote about on her blog. Particularly when working in smaller churches. Some of it was my fault. I didn't understand at the time how much I was shortchanging my own gifts and calling.

Believing the 2 for 1 lie is the perfect way to sabotage your own leadership ability and limits your capacity for growth. "So,  you need a guy to lead something at youth group?  Perfect. I can use my husband/boyfriend." WRONG. Don't do that. Why? Because you won't be as motivated to do the hard and worthwhile work of actually building a team of male volunteers. Recruiting, training, and retaining volunteers is ALWAYS going to be your #1 priority in any youth ministry [if it isn't it should be!], and you need to get good at doing that. At building a team. At delegating. At planning ahead so you are not always calling your spouse or significant other to pick up the donuts you forgot to buy or picking up 5 bags of candy at Target because you need them in 40 minutes. You learn to be better prepared and to limit your emergency "asks" of your spouse to real & actual emergencies.


Do you know what I did? I fired my husband. Maybe "fired" isn't the best word.  I suggested he consider volunteering in our high school ministry, instead of the middle school ministry I lead.  I kind of kicked him out so he can be awesome all on his own.  And I can be more awesome all on my own. And we doubled our awesomeness. Both doing great work in different areas of youth ministry. Existing together, but totally separate. Not dependent on one other for any kind of "success" in youth ministry. And our high school ministry was happy to have him. He is pretty good at student ministry all on his own.  


This is Tim and the "high school" volunteers he serves with. Guess which one my husband is?

What happened when I fired my husband? Well now he can grow, lead, and serve without me managing him. Someone else can invest into him, lead him, and benefit from having him on their team. And I can step up and fill my own volunteer slots without depending on him to fill in wherever I need him too. He isn't my ministry slave boy. We both have more dignity now. And we get along better too. We have fun describing what happened in our different programs. We have new stories to share with one another from being involved in two entirely different things. And when my husband is a little too loud, A.D.D. and crazy fun...well someone else can tell him to take it down a notch. It's given us more to appreciate [and laugh] about each other. 

My advise to you: Don't fall into the lie of believing the 2 for 1 deal.  Especially if you are a woman seeking a paid vocational ministry position. Volunteering together...that's something totally different.


apparently I am not the only one who feels this way


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