Thursday, May 01, 2008

Youth Ministry Tips From A Potty Mouthed Scotsman

Gordon Ramsay is a potty mouthed scotsman, chef, and star of tv's Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares. In a recent episode of Kitchen Nightmares, I was reminded of a few things he said that apply to youth ministry, ministry and life in general.

Cook It Fresh

If you want to tic off Gordon Ramsay, just let him find you storing food that you plan to reheat later for customers. He is emphatic about serving food fresh. He will tear up kitchen and a chef for attempting to fool the customer. So true is this in ministry. Our students know the difference between relying on some tired rhetoric instead of a message from the heart of God birthed in prayer and study. Whether it's programming or the weekly message, keep it fresh! Or Chef Ramsay will get you!

Take it Serious

If Gordon Ramsay has a sense of humor we do not know it. He may have been born with out one but I'm not willing to say that to his face. He takes his craft seriously and expects the chefs he works with to do the same. I have worked with those who fall to pieces when the littlest thing goes wrong ( OK, it's me) and I usually comfort them by saying, "Look, it's only ministry". This is a habit I need to break. Ministry, pastoring , working with teens is important. It is unfortunate that many youth pastors feel that reaching more students with the gospel, making hard discipleship decisions and doing all they can with what they have takes too much work. To them life is one big Lock In and as along they are getting paid, life is good. The times are changing. Youth ministry professionals have to show the value of their office. The stakes are getting higher. Take your ministry and calling seriously.

Tell The Truth (In Love)

Gordon minces no words. Whether he is talking about the food, the service or personal hygiene he is brutally honest. He is willing to spit the food right out of his mouth if it's not right. He uses the truth to shape people. From what I can tell, he sees coddling others as a luxury he cannot afford. How much coddling do we do? How often do we string someone along hoping they will get better? Gordon is trying to turn around a restaurant and sees his time as precious.He does not have time for those who don't have the chops for being a chef. He tests their mettle. I don't know if it is for love of people that Gordon says what he says but he certainly says it for love of food.

Add A Clever Curve To Your Menu

Our chef takes boring, stale, uninviting menu's and adds creativity and punch. In one kitchen he recommends a chef's table right in the kitchen where people can see the inner workings. In a soul food kitchen in Brighton he comes up with Soul in a Bowl; a hearty helping of various menu offerings. Are your students bored? Are they tired of not what is on the menu but how the food is prepared and served? Look at the menu of programming you are offering. If you were a restaurant would you get four or five stars or would the spiritual health dept. shut you down or worse, would you simply be unmentionable?

Do What You Are Passionate About

One final piece of advice from our cranky chef. Be passionate about what you do. Life is too short for bad food. it is also to short to be in a position that drains your passion instead of fuels it. That is not to say that we will always be happy in our position but our passion should make us want to fight to stay there. Are you unhappy? Make a list of things (or people) worth fighting for or worth fighting through. Students don't learn anything from a quitter except when times get tough, just quit Students and the church know when we are not giving our best. If you are not passionate about doing ministry full time find something you are passionate about and do that. Gordon Ramsay commands you!

Let the sparks fly,


1 comment:

Dale said...

Man, great thoughts Paul! I watch that show and never have I once thought that you could take Gordon Ramsey's "shenanigans and apply them to Youth Ministry. Thanks!