Most of you missed the train wreck that was Miley Cyrus’ performance on the VMAs last night. Be grateful. The long and short of it: she twerked and grinded on a foam finger and several others….in a nude colored bikini….through the entire song.
If you were able to stick it out through that unfortunate excuse for entertainment, you eventually saw Justin Timberlake (complete with a mini-reunion of *NSYNC) bring the house down with the redemption performance of the night.
What do we learn about youth ministry? Here’s just a quick list–
1. Edgy doesn’t mean quality. If your ministry is simply about getting ‘ratings’, you need to re-evaluate. You might get the ‘ratings’ you’re hoping for, but at what cost — and can that kind of ‘show’ sustain?
2. People will talk (and tweet) more about the missteps and mistakes of youth ministers than their success stories. Even Miley supporters agree that she was smutty, vulgar, and talent-less…and NO ONE was afraid to tweet, meme, and post about it. Expect people to point out your failures and notice your short comings more easily than your steady, quality leadership. And expect them to tell people about it when you screw up.
3. Performance always out lives and outshines entertainment. The social media love thrown JT’s way was supportive, respectful, and appreciative…although not as plentiful as the Miley-rants. He had more airtime and more kudos and a more enjoyable show…and there’s a reason for that. Timberlake has a talent and longevity in the business that garners respect and attention in the most positive ways. And though people occasionally talk about Miley Cyrus, they buy Justin Timberlake’s albums. If you want to build something in student ministry that lasts, give a quality performance (as in ‘job performance, work ethic, career longevity). Entertainment only lasts so long…