What Are Your Expectations? Here’s A Surprising Self-Test.
Published: February 15, 2020
26 questions that’ll help you uncover the expectations that drive you, frustrate you, help you, and hinder you.
You can’t sleep because you’re rehashing some emotional loose end connected to your ministry. Maybe it’s grating on you that your kids didn’t exactly track with the Bible study. Maybe you’re worried you missed something at the board meeting-what does “strengthening the budget through strategic downsizing” mean anyway? Or maybe you’re replaying that conversation with Joe-was he asking for your advice; did he just want you to listen; did you say too much or not enough or the wrong things altogether? The culprit responsible for your restless night is named… Expectations.
Expectations are not the same as goals. You set goals and work toward them — there’s no camouflage here. But expectations are strong subconscious beliefs about what you and others should, can, and will do. Expectations can have teeth, especially when they’re not met.
Have you flushed into the open your expectations about your ministry? Maybe not. Probably not. Now would be a good time. Take this article and a pen to a quiet place-treat yourself to a favorite beverage. Then work through the expectation inventory. Be honest, and this little exercise could transform your ministry.
Personal Expectation Inventory
Expectations of Yourself
- What do you expect to accomplish in your ministry?
- Why do you want to work with young people?
- What circumstances were instrumental in leading you into this role?
- What people were instrumental in leading you to this role (positively or negatively)? Why?
- How long do you picture yourself in your present position?
- What duties in your work bring you the most satisfaction? Why?
- What duties in your work bring you the least satisfaction? Why?
- How many hours a week do you expect to work?
- What are your goals for your ministry? Where do you want to be three months from now/one year from now/three years from now?
- What is it about your job that really irks you? Why?
Expectations of Your Kids
- How many hours a week do you think your kids expect you to work?
- Which age group(s) within your ministry do you connect the best with? Why?
- Which age group(s) within your ministry do you connect the least with? Why? How do you intend to deal with this reality?
- What behaviors do you expect to face with your kids?
- How important is it that your kids like you?
- How important is it that you like your kids?
Expectations of Adults Involved in Your Ministry
- How do you expect your ministry to integrate into the life of your church?
- What’s your definition of appropriate criticism?
- Can you give this kind of criticism?
- Can you take this kind of criticism?
- How many hours a week does your supervisor expect you to work?
- How many hours a week do church members expect you to work?
Expectations Outside Your Ministry
- If you are single, what problems do you anticipate because of your ministry?
- What expectations do you have of your nuclear family regarding your time constraints?
- If you are married, what problems do you anticipate because of your ministry?
- If you have kids of your own, what problems do you anticipate because of your ministry?
Now that you’ve explored your expectations, you can exercise control over them. They won’t go away — and they won’t stop bothering you — just because you’ve unmasked them. Dealing with them will require honesty and self-evaluation on an ongoing basis. Your goal should be to bring your expectations into line with reality. When they don’t, they grow teeth.
Few children’s ministers are skilled or trained to do all that the job requires. No worries, mate. The One who called you into ministry is both the Great Physician and the Great Teacher.
Joel Lund is a youth minister in Washington state.
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