Soggy Programs

Seth Godin recently wrote a post entitled “Soggy.”  In this post, he describes new products as “crisp” and older products as “soggy,” I am assuming like a bowl of cereal.  Seth writes:

New organizations and new projects are so crisp.

Things happen with alacrity. Decisions get made. Stuff gets done.

Then, over time, things get soggy. They slow down. Decisions aren’t so black and white any more.

When reading this, I thought about how Youth Ministry programs follow this same cycle.  A flashy new event or method of ministry is introduced.  Students are excited, leaders are energized, and you are proud.  This new event is “crisp.”  Then it becomes old news pretty quickly.  It is amazing to see how fast a hot, new program can become a habit and then a tradition in a ministry.  Soon, this “crisp” program is a “soggy” shell of its former self, and students and leaders both dread participating. 

So how do we combat these “soggy” programs? Not by creating new, flashier, “crisper” programs.  Instead, forget about programs and focus on people.  Students are FAR more important that activities.

P.S. If you are not reading Seth’s blog, you are missing out.  It is truly remarkable how clear he makes things.


5 Responses to Soggy Programs

  1. mike says:

    I agree, to an extent. Can you ever really “forget” about programs? I agree that people are far more important than the programs, but programs also help get to the people.

    I don’t think starting a new, flashy program is the way to go. maybe its just focusing on the need of the students and adjusting your programs to make sure those needs are being met.

    …a thought…


  2. brandonschmidt says:

    I agree with you in that we cannot totally forget about programs, but our focus on programs should only go so far. The programs are just a means, not the end goal. Our ministry calling is not to have flashy events, but to build genuine relationships with students and to show them Christ.

    I agree that you should evaluate current programs and modify them to fit your ministry’s purpose better. You don’t need to scrap “soggy” programs for “crisper” ones.

  3. mike says:

    i agree. but how many of the “successful” ministries do people find “successful” because of the relationships the adults have with the students – its usually b/c of a few flashy programs people see and not the time and effort put into relationships. This leads to thinking the programs are where the results are coming from…

  4. brandonschmidt says:

    Yes, the programs are one of the first things an outsider will see of a ministry. But, we must get away from the idea that the programs are what define a ministry. It is the ministry itself (i.e. the relationships and the people) that defines a church or youth group.

    Thank you for your input to this topic, I have appreciated it.

  5. mike says:

    You are welcome.

    I agree that we have to stop defining “success” or even ministry itself by the programs. I’m just afraid that a lot of younger ministers look at the “successful” (man I hate using quotation marks so much) ministries from around the country/world and do not take the time to think about the people behind the flash. Then they know what they consider successful and try to emulate it with flashy programs of their own – or even the same program. Then the Church ends up with a lot of soggy ministries wanting to be something they aren’t. So, then my question to anyone willing to listen is how do we stop the cycle? (just some thoughts)

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