I’m a pastor. I am also in charge of programming our weekend services for our High School Ministry at Saddleback. Something that I want to do the best I possibly can. The pastor in me loves relational ministry: getting coffee, hanging out after services, and eating together. Jesus was all about having relationships with people. But I am also a programmer and need to focus on the program as part of my job. So I want the lights to be just right, I want the smoothest transitions possible, I want the sweet videos, I want a professionally ran service so it looks and feels smooth to create an experience for students to meet Jesus during services.

So which am I? A pastor? A programmer? A programming pastor? The way I like to think of it is…I am a pastor, who happens to programs a service.

I don’t think it is an “either/or” type of situation, which groups can think it is. The tendency is to think that we have one or the other. We either can focus on the programming side, making sure the service is flawless, with cool elements, and illustrations, but then the relationship side would suffer because all of our focus is on the service, and the ministry would be super shallow. Or there is the other way, where relationships takes completely over, where you will have really deep relationships with students, but the service will suffer and be sloppy and boring, and friends of the students wouldn’t want to come because they think it is “boring”. Now, I’m not saying this is true per say, I’m just saying this is the general assumption of the relational vs. programming issue.

The next few Wednesdays I want to unpack this issue. This is something I have been asking myself as well, something I have been wrestling with too, because I don’t think it should be an “either/or” thing, but it should be a “both/and” service, where it is possible to have a really planned and thought out amazing service and have unreal relational time with students and get to the core of their relationship with God and do both well.

I feel like this battle is within us and is constant. It may or may not be true for every ministry, but I know there is a balance that we need to be aware of.

Before we get into detail of what this looks like, what do you think? What are the benefits of having one over the other? Which one do you seem to focus on more as of right now?