We know that as youth workers social media is a really big thing. We are in it, whether we like it or not because that is where our students are. And if we are honest, we can get sucked into the same things out students do when it comes to perception, finding value and sometimes portraying things to others that are not who we really are because we care a lot about what others think of us.

I mean, I know I do it. and I bet I am not alone.

I know there are eyes looking at what I am doing and what our ministry is doing. Every time we post we have eyes looking at us and we have the ability to put out and control what others see.

Craig Groeschel says on his podcast all of the time, “Be yourself. People would rather follow a leader who is always real rather than a leader who is always right.” I would agree. So I was thinking the following in challenging myself but other youth pastors out there who are trying to “make it”… whatever that means. Maybe some apply to you, maybe none of them, maybe all of them do (more me, all do in some way shape of form), but chances are there is some heart work to be done as we lead out in being real.

There is a really big difference between being around successful people to appear successful and actually being successful. – Everyone does it at some point. Name dropping. It makes us feel more important and more important sounding to others. Sometimes us youth pastors at conferences or whatever are the worst at this. Why do we do this?One of the best things we can do is work on honing in our craft to be successful for what God has called us to be rather than posting things around people who are killing it in hopes to gain some of their influence. I have done it. I wanted to be associated with them and I wanted others to think I was.

There is a really big difference between appearing genuine and actually being genuine. – Posting things online is really easy. Click, share… boom genuine. Nope. It takes work to be a genuine person. It takes Jesus to become more and more genuine in how we actually care for people and be the person we are portraying online and being the same person in real life. Have you ever met someone for the first time and they are way different than what they do/say online? I think students see this sometimes in us. We need to combat that.

There is a really big difference between appearing spiritually disciplined and deep and actually being spiritually disciplined and deep. – we have either done this or seen it. The picture of the open bible, with notes, coffee on the table. I am all for it… if thats what you do regularly. I don’t know if it is a bad thing on my end (even asking that means I need to check my heart) but when I see a post like that, I always wonder…”Do they really do it like that though? Or is it for the gram?” Point? As leaders we need to make sure we are ACTUALLY growing in our faith if we are challenging our students to do so.

There is a really big difference between having a position to lead people and actually leading people. – You can have a title but no influence. People might follow me and put up with me because my title places me to run the show, but it does not mean I am leading them. Just because you have a title doesn’t mean you are effectively leading your team, volunteers, or students.

There is a really big difference between knowing a lot about Jesus and actually knowing Jesus. – We can rally off stats and verses all day. we can preach until our heads fall off but if we are first not preaching to ourselves, out of the abundance of what we have been putting in with Scripture on our own time,  we just know about Jesus. It’s when we begin to really dig into who Jesus is in our own lives, allowing Him to mold and transform us from the inside out, will we see Him move in ways we never even would have imagined.

Just some thoughts I have been wrestling with. Social media is really good at putting on that front.

Which one do you tend to fall in? What are you doing to work on it?

Let’s practice being real with ourselves, God and others.