If You Hear Yourself Saying This: Stop It Now!

By Josh Griffin on February 18 2014

Josh Griffin: 3 Fatal Youth Ministry Phrases

I was thinking about 3 phrases I’ve said to myself from time to time. The problem is that they are either destructive or self-defeating phrases that get stuck in our minds and misdirect us. They are divisive, or worse, fatal, to a youth ministry career and calling. Stop it now! Tell me if you can (painfully) relate to any of these (and add your own in the comments):

“I’m working harder than everyone else.”

As a leader you set the pace and passion, so you should be working hard! It is your job to show urgency and then delegate ownership to everyone else. So in some ways this pity party is unwarranted, and I promise you there are plenty of people around willing to help if asked, empowered, and challenged. Work hard … but multiply yourself into a workforce, too.

“My leader is terrible.”

As youth workers we get the privilege of sitting in a seat beside the pastor. That can be a beautiful position of support and love, or it can be a divisive seat where we assassinate him/her for our own gain. We second-guess decisions and play devil’s advocate with others while silently and maliciously gaining support to our own vision and direction. My friends, it ought not to be this way. What would your church look like if you supported and challenged your leader? I promise you, this one alone could change everything.

And thinking, “my leader is terrible” quickly leads you to this last thought, too…

“I am the savior of this place.”

Oh my word … how diluted is this one? Now, we would never dare to actually say this one out loud, yet we silently think it is the truth. This is going to come right before a low, I promise you, because, from what I hear, God humbles the proud. Fight arrogance even in the silence of your heart. You won’t last long in youth ministry if you don’t!

Those are my 3 fatal phrases—do they resonate with you? What other phrases do you see infecting a youth ministry career?


Josh Griffin is the co-founder of Download Youth Ministry and the leading blogger in youth ministry. Check out much more at Love God, Love Students blog at DownloadYouthMinistry.com and on his Twitter @joshuagriffin.


Picture of Scott Rowe

From Scott Rowe on February 19, 2014

Another one is “Im not making a difference” we need to remember there will be highs and lows in ministry and remember to trust God through it all.

Picture of Josh

From Josh on February 19, 2014

Such a great point! I may write more on that another time, too. Well said! JG

Picture of DAYO

From DAYO on February 19, 2014

Very impactful point, giving me a diffrent way of thInking. Thanks

Picture of Josh

From Josh on February 19, 2014

Right on David, glad it was helpful! I’ll admit it ... I’ve thought all 3 of those things in the past! JG

Picture of Ntokozo Mkhize

From Ntokozo Mkhize on February 19, 2014

Another one i think is as dangerous is, “Im not good enogh’ the moment we dont have complete confidence in God to work through us is the moment the devil has an oppotunity to invade.

Picture of Josh

From Josh on February 19, 2014

Amen and amen. I’ve said that one before, too! Another dangerous one! JG

Picture of DJ

From DJ on February 20, 2014

Josh, great stuff. I needed to read that this morning. Appreciate you sharing and helping guys like me out.

Picture of Jon

From Jon on February 20, 2014

Not to be that guy, but it should be “deluded.” 3 great points though.

  1. Remember me?
  2. Send me an email when someone responds.