I love you. I really do. But you need to shut your mouth.
Youth workers love to talk – typically one of our passions is to communicate with people all of the time. It is one of the things we like to do and are required to do often in our calling. But I want you to consider talking a little less. For some of us … myself very much included … well, we just need to shut up.
Here are 3 areas I need to work on being quieter:
Shut up in small group
Don’t do all of the talking in your small group! Let questions hang out there. Let them teach the lesson. Let discussion build. Don’t have all the answers (quick aside … you don’t have them all anyhow). When you’re with learners, let them learn! You teaching too much often get in the way of them actually learning.
Shut up about the leadership of your church
My mom (and probably your mom, too) used to say, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” These words are true for a 5-year old child and a 25-year old youth worker. OK, all of us, even the old folks like me with one foot in the grave at 39. I’ve been around youth workers long enough to know that there is a fundamental difference between most youth ministries and the leadership of their church, which many think gives license to gossip or slander. Just no.
Shut up in your time with Jesus
We talk to God in prayer. We read the Word. We have the latest celebrity-pastor best-selling devotional book. We share with others. We process with a close friend. But we rarely take the time to be in God’s presence, to listen to Him, to be guided by Him. If you do … you’re a rare breed because (confession time) I can’t think of the last time I really spent time in solitude and silence with Jesus. I’m busy doing youth ministry! I’m busy talking all of the time. Shoot … I need to take my own advice and shut up.
I know it isn’t a polite thing to say … but shut up already!