The periodic newsletter of the Barnabas Partnership, LLC
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When Teens See You Mess Up

Two of the core values I emphasize in my youth ministry are authenticity and relationships. I believe they are very important in working with teenagers because they can smell fake a mile away very quickly. Being real with them and showing how much I care have led to some wonderful moments in my seventeen years being a youth minister. They’ve also led to some rare occasions where some teenagers have seen me at my worst. One of those occasions happened recently.
I will not go into too many details, but after a series of circumstances and setbacks that took place while preparing for a mission trip and managing a couple of large renovation projects at church, the straw that broke the camel’s back was that the commissioning of our youth for their mission trip was unintentionally passed over in our order of worship. It was set to take place at the end of the service and by the time anyone realized what was happening, the service was over and people were walking out. Needless to say, I was furious and made my feelings known very publicly to several people and unfortunately, my teenagers saw my wrath.
It wasn’t my finest moment, and while I had every right to be upset, I made some poor choices in handling it, and a couple of my volunteers lovingly called me out on it. So how do we handle those situations when teenagers see us act in ways that are opposite of the Christ would want us to respond?
1. Own up to your failure… While I felt justified in my anger of the situation, I had to own up that I handled it poorly, and I had to admit it. Being authentic means that you have to sometimes swallow your pride, admit that you blew it and show some humility.
2. Seek out forgiveness, personally… I could have just apologized only to my volunteers, but when I knew some of my teenagers saw what I did, I needed to apologize and seek their forgiveness as well. So, I called or texted the ones I knew who saw me, along with some adults as well to personally apologize to them for the way I acted. Most of my teenagers didn’t make a deal out of it, but they appreciated that I reached out to them.
3. Learn from it… Work out a plan, at least mentally, on how to handle similar situations in the future. Ministry can be frustrating at times, especially in working with teenagers. Having some idea of what to do when stressful situations arise will allow you to respond better in the future.
4. Be kind to yourself… I admit that I am my own worst critic, and even after going through the first couple of steps mentioned above, I was still beating myself up over it. It took a conversation the next day with the volunteer who called me out to remind me that I’m human and sometimes I make mistakes. None of them have caused the world to end and if others can forgive me, I should be able to forgive myself too.
Surprisingly, the incident helped in my relationship with my youth group. They saw that, like them, I don’t always have it all together and it allowed me to turn it into a teachable moment and be more relatable to them.
These thoughts above are from Rev. Richard Wood, our partner in ministry for youth, children and social media ministry. He is an associate pastor in Sanford, North Carolina. For more information about how he can help you or your church, contact him at 919-888-2199 or


On The Road



Last month many of our partners were involved in leading workshops in Raleigh, North Carolina to better equip and encourage church leaders. We had very good response from those who attended our sessions. But not all of our partners had that opportunity. Therefore, David Fox and Paul Raybon will get in the partnership action through some different ways in the coming days!
If you are in the vicinity of Second Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia this Friday, September 8, David Fox will be there along with Steve Zimmerman to visit with ministers at our booth as the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Virginia celebrates their 25th anniversary. David and Steve have some exciting plans for Virginia churches next year. Come by and let them hear your story and find how the partnership can be an asset to your church’s ministry.
Paul Raybon has been invited to Shelby, North Carolina for a ministers’ luncheon on Monday, October 2, at the Greater Cleveland County Baptist Association office. He will have the opportunity to share the many ways churches can benefit from our work. If you are in the area, he would love to have a chance to get to know you. However, if you are in this general area of Western North Carolina and can’t make the gathering but would still want to line up a visit with Paul, feel free to contact him at 828.713.6986 or
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