Overhype is defined as, "make exaggerated claims about (a product, idea, or event); publicize or promote excessively."
I love the hype of a competitive game or fun event. I enjoy life and I'm sure you do as well. But what happens when we think that everything that happens in student ministry needs to live up to hype. Isn't that what students want today anyways?
One truth that I have come back to over 10 years of learning about ministry is that if it is built solely upon emotions and without a foundation in God's Word, it will diminish.
Here are some examples of "overhype."
- Social media is a continual "Hype Fest!" Do you and I really always feel like everything is amazing? I know there are days I am exhausted and other days I feel excited. Be real and don't feel the pressure to make everything just like a Disney world attraction.
- You celebrate numbers over stories. Now, I understand that every number is a person (who has a story, etc) but I believe that if we shared more stories of life change instead of only numerical data, we miss out on the heart of why we do ministry.
- Packed calendar of events. The feeling to "keep the students busy" and to appease parents to be their children's social planner can be overwhelming. Say no to more events. Say no to the feeling that if we always do more and "hype" it up and beg people to come that we will see more life change. Less is more. Spend energy on the vision and strategy of your ministry at your church. Cut out the hype of busyness.
Hype is fun. I enjoy how exciting it is to see God change lives and have a lot of fun at the same time! But, God uses the quiet, still moments to teach us about Himself, not just the loudness and busyness that our culture believes is important.
My question for myself and to you is, "Am I just as excited about God and His mission in the mundane, quiet times during the day as much as when I'm a part of the next event?"
What if our social media was more honest and real.
What if we celebrated the names and stories of students instead of only how many butts are in the seats?
What if we stopped looking for only physical results (hands raised during music, etc) and prayed for the Holy Spirit to produce fruit that remains years down the road?
What if we led by example to live by faith and not only by the hype of emotions.
The honest truth is...this is what our students and their parents need as well.
Let's stop overhyping. Please. Student ministry will be better for it.