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The Change Monster

09 Jul Spiritual Formation | Comments Off on The Change Monster
The Change Monster
 

Change is in the Air

Every parent knows the signs, a baby who is crying, who can’t sleep, or a stained onesie. But, the sure fire sign is that undeniable smell! You’ve smelled it, haven’t you? Yes, you have! It’s that smell that you pretend you didn’t smell. It’s the smell that quickly prompted you to let someone else hold that dear little baby. That unmistakable smell can clear a room. It’s nasty!

diaperchange

Being a responsible person you assume the duty, albeit reluctantly, to change the baby’s diaper. Slowly, you open the diaper to see how bad it is. You want to know how many wet ones you’re going to need or if you’re going to need another person to help.  You’ve done it; you know what I’m talking about!

Making Change Stick, not Stink

The Change Monster is so feared that it keeps diapers from being changed promptly and it keeps organizations from remaining profitable and productive. Businesses, non-profits, churches and other organizations have feared the change monster. Even when an organization realizes it is stagnating, change can be hard.

However, even when the decision to change is made there is no guarantee that change will actually happen. For example: a person may realize that they need to go on a diet. Eventually, the decision to go on a diet is made, but the decision to change doesn’t guarantee the diet will be successful. The change monster is reluctant and powerful.

Your students are no different! No doubt you’re worked countless hours planning your summer mission trip, week of camp, or VBS. The event was awesome. Everyone came home in one piece (which is a miracle) and God changed lives. Typically, you have a few days to rest before it’s on to the next project. Warning: The change monster is at work.

studentchange

The commitments your students made are immediately under attack. If you are not vigilant and pro-active, those commitments will wither. Caring for the souls of your students takes a huge amount of care, constant care. If spiritual growth is to be maintained it requires you to help defeat the change monster. Your students won’t do it on their own.

Here are some tips for defeating the change monster:

  1. Create a plan. What issue(s) is your student facing? What resources do they need? Who is going to join them on this journey?
  2. Implement the plan. Sounds simple, but the change monster wants to defeat you too. Having a plan is worthless if it’s not carried out.
  3. Spend time with the student. They need to feel loved and supported. Too often they feel isolated and forgotten. They don’t need a pastor as much as they need a cheerleader. Root for their spiritual growth and success and let them know it.
  4. Pray like you mean it! I’m sure you pray for all your students, that’s part of your job. But, pray like their souls depend on it. They probably do!
  5. Be a good shepherd. Your students are going to wander, they’re human and they’re kids! Chase after them and gently bring them back- as often as you need to.
  6. Finally, never ever give up!

Always remember, God is greater than the change monster! Carefully seek God, trust him, lead with confidence, and watch him defeat the change monster in the lives of your students. That might be the change you need!

Jerry Higley
Executive Director at Lebanon Valley Youth For Christ
Jerry Higley is the Executive Director of Lebanon Valley Youth For Christ and an adjunct faculty member at LBC teaching Student Ministry courses at both the undergrad and graduate level. When he's not at work, he loves spending time outdoors hunting and fishing with his grandkids.