Collaboration & Decision-Making In Youth Ministry

I love to collaborate. I love to gather information. I love to search and seek out the best ways to do youth ministry.

Maybe it’s just who I am or maybe I was taught early on that I’m not the smartest, the best, or the one with the brightest ideas; whatever the case, I simply LOVE learning.

In fact, my top “strength” according to Strengthsfinder is Learner.

But everyone knows how much information is available these days.

And it’s overwhelming!

At times, I become paralyzed with an overload of information. I can find supporting studies, articles, and view points on the best practice for effective youth ministry in several different areas. Each day, I am bombarded (actually, I bombard myself) with blog posts, twitter feeds, facebook links, and books.

At some point, a decision has to be made and a direction has to be determined.

Yesterday, I was having lunch with one of the most accomplished and Godly pastors I’ve ever been around. He told me something that, for me, is incredibly profound.

He makes a decision when he is 80% certain.


Maybe this isn’t shocking to you, but for me, I try to usually make sure I’m like 99.9% certain of the answer and direction. I want to know if other people have tried it, where it’s worked, how it’s gone, etc, etc., until I have a percentage that is at least above 95%.

Here’s the problem: Decisions are rarely made. New directions are rarely taken. Calculated risks, despite uncertainty, are rarely chosen. I think part of the reason I attempt to get a 99.9% change of success if because I don’t want to fail and I don’t want to let anyone down.

If I adopt this 80% rule, I won’t become so overwhelmed by all the competing information. I can make decisions by being fairly certain, but not 99.9% certain. I can take chances once in a while, knowing that people will be disappointed, but resting assured my identity comes in Christ alone.

What does it take for you to make a decision? For youth pastors, what type of decisions have you been avoiding — waiting for more certainty — that you just need to give a green light to?

2 thoughts on “Collaboration & Decision-Making In Youth Ministry

  1. First time on your blog – I follow you on twitter.

    Solid post – I enjoy learning too and at times feel overloaded from all the info. Over the years, I’ve gotten better at not needing to read everything and so forth but the problem is, like you, I like all this stuff.

    Concerning decision making, it all depends on what type of decisions need to be made. I do like to chew on some things and take up as much time as I can for things like mission trips, retreat themes, and other types of changes and lessons, etc. so I’ll set a date on my iCal and have a mental countdown and this creates urgency for me.

    And not to sound overly spiritual but I really do pray over these decisions because for me it’s so important to uncover the motives and reasons for these decisions. The process is almost as important as the decision themselves.

    While I don’t really think in percentages, I think 80% sounds close to right for the reason that I am not really “completely certain” of some of these decisions but feel confident that enough thought and energy has gone into them.

    Going to think more about this 80% but great post.

  2. Hey Tim:

    Thanks for commenting bro. I sneaked over to your blog and going to add it to my reader. Love it.

    Ya, good thoughts about the decision making. I like the idea of setting a “deadline.” Sometimes we need to be forced a bit to make a decision.

    Thanks for checking it out man. Looking forward to more conversations.

    Where are you a student pastor at?



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