Walt Mueller’s article in the November/December Youthworker Journal has served as a good reminder for me in ministry. The article brings up a number of good points, but what hit me was the following phrase from the last section about how we can plan mission trips that bring about lasting change:
“cut the entitlement-feeding stuff from our programming (expensive winter ski trips, etc.) and funnel our youth ministry time into radical giving.”
The phrase “entitlement-feeding” was what really caught my eye. When planning events, I do try to not go overboard and have really expensive events and trips that simply are a lot of fun and nothing more. However, before today, I had never really thought about asking the following question when it comes to event planning: Is this event reinforcing a sense of entitlement in our culture? I usually plug and advertise all events, whether it’s a “block party” event designed for students to bring their friends, a service project, or World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine in the following way: “It will be a lot of fun! You should come!” As I thought about it, I don’t usually say something like, “This event will help you deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus!” Why? Because I buy into the idea that students need to think they’ll get something out of an event in order to come. That’s reinforcing their sense of entitlement.