Years ago, I had the privilege of coaching basketball under a guy who knew how to turn the tables of a bad team into one that started to believe in themselves. Honestly, at first, coming from sitting under other coaches who yelled, screamed and pointed out all the mistakes, it was weird for me to sit under someone who didn’t do that. 

Instead, as girls turned the ball over, made bad passes and missed easy buckets he’d be on the sidelines clapping, saying, “You’re doing great girls, keep it up. You’re going to get there!” Were we bad? You better believe it, but did the girls start to have fun, trust their coach and believe in themselves? They sure did. Within a couple of years, the team went from winning almost no games to having a winning record. It was remarkable, and it started with one coach who was willing to celebrate the wins, even when it seemed like we had none. 

The kids who stopped coming, the leaders who show up late, the frustrating parent who doesn’t support you and that outreach event that was a real flop.

It’s easy to focus on everything that’s going wrong in youth ministry, isn’t it? Yet, within all of these moments, there’s most likely is a silver lining if you’re willing to look for it. Share on X

If there’s a climate of negativity in your youth ministry, just like the coach I worked under, you can turn the tide if you’re willing to lead the way. 

Here’s some different ways to approach your youth ministry so you can start celebrating the wins.

  1. When you’re at youth group, don’t complain about the kids who aren’t there, celebrate the ones who are with you. 
  2. When others are complaining about how something didn’t go well, look for ways to celebrate something small within it and focus on that. 
  3. Change your vocabulary.  Instead of addressing “problems” with someone, start using words like, “opportunities,” instead. View them not as a problem, but, instead start tackling those conversations as opportunities for growth. 
  4. Kill that negative Nancy attitude that’s in your youth ministry. Be the encourager your leaders need, the advocate parents are looking for, and the cheerleader your students need to encourage them in their walk with Jesus.
  5. Find a few cheerleaders of your own. Invite others to pray for you and your ministry.  Share with them your desire to start celebrating the wins to turn the tide in your youth ministry setting. 

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