Some years ago, a former youth volunteer of mine who was in his 60’s shared a piece of sage advice with me. He said, “Squeaky wheels don’t always need grease.” This came from the same man who explained to me that wisdom is basically knowledge plus experience…again, sage advice.
But the one about the squeaky wheels kind of caught my attention. Why would he be telling me this? Were the wheels on my car making noise? Was he a mechanic? Was something better than grease that would stop the squeaking? He had my attention.
It seemed I had made a few decisions with regards to that particular youth group due to the complaints or “squeaks” of a few disgruntled parents. Instead of coming to me and chastising me for my poor decisions or talking behind my back, this wise man approached me with some great advice that I have remembered some 18 years later. I was letting a few squeakers monopolize my attention and my focus.
At this point, I had been in youth ministry over 3 years. I thought I knew it all. I had served at one church part-time for 2 years and taken the group from 12 to 30. I had taken them on their first mission trip and I successfully remodeled the youth room. I knew everything.
Then, I graduated college and got my first full-time position. I was in the big leagues. We had over 100 kids per week! And it was probably all because of me. Again, I knew everything. Quit laughing. I really did.
I came across some people who didn’t like what I was doing. I couldn’t have that. I was trained well enough to know that we had to have a mission statement and goals. That was the first thing I did. I told you, I knew everything. But these people didn’t buy into my mission statement. They wanted me to change things. So, I did.
I gave up my vision and direction for the squeaks of a few who were unhappy. Some really bad decisions followed which ultimately caused the leadership of the church to lose confidence in me. It wasn’t long before I was no longer calling the shots.
Sometimes it is our youth parents. Sometimes it might be students. It could even be your small group leaders, teachers or volunteer leaders. But there will always be those who don’t agree with what you’re doing. When we get caught up in pleasing those who aren’t happy, we often lose sight of the vision God planted in our hearts to begin with.
Don’t let the opinions of a few dictate the direction of your ministry. Your mission and goals should be a shared effort with the leadership of your group. When those are set, share that vision with others. Get them on board with you and excited about where you are headed. If they are not supportive or begin to squeak, seek counsel from your leadership. Don’t grease those wheels.
God has called you into your position. Somebody had faith in you and trusted that you knew what you were doing. If not, they would not have hired you or placed you in that position. Believe in that vision and trust in God to provide you the way. Sometimes that means changing the direction, but sometimes it means ignoring the squeaks.