Respect Is Given, Not Earned (OYPO – Vol. 37)

One Youth Pastor’s Opinion (OYPO)…

Respect Is Given, Not Earned

Respect is given, not earned. Never is this more evident than when a new staff member comes on board. My first years in youth ministry started in college when I worked with the teen class. Having started college at 17, I was barely older than the teens themselves, yet by my junior year I taught occasionally, ran a youth activity and was generally given respect. 

Had I earned it? Nope. But they were taught to show it.

After graduation, my wife and I moved to Stillwater where we helped with the teens and eventually taught a junior high class. The people of that church chose to show loads of respect even to me—a bumbling staff intern—calling me “Bro. Rench” and responding to my preaching and allowing me to “oversee” them on construction projects. Believe me… I may be a bad preacher now, but I was worse then, and they still loved on me. I appreciated that a lot. My project management skills were no better—my supposed oversight of the hallway renovations led to some frantic times as other staff men covered for my mistakes. 

Yet it was nothing but encouragement from those good folks at Bible Baptist Church. Earned? Definitely not. 

Not knowing what to expect when we moved to Temecula, my wife and I entered a youth group that was already on the move. We were young and energetic, had no kids and wanted to change the world, so we rode the momentum and launched ourselves into the teens’ lives, crashing and burning along the way. 

Here, too, we had those master-encouragers to buoy us in our (my!) mistakes. In my first year, I left the bus lights on throughout an entire beach activity. Thank God, the bus fired up… whew! Crisis averted (this time), but that mistake is still an indicator of my not-earned respect.

Also in my first year, I stranded our entire group of about 20 way out in the boonies—no gas, no cell phone reception, and 12 miles up a canyon. 

Our midnight mishap had more than a couple parents nervous. In the end, a troop of our city kids hiked until they got a sketchy call through to Pastor, who rescued us with gas. 

After we crossed over the hump of finally being able to laugh about it, the sweetest mom I’ve ever known, Mrs. Andrade, said in her Spanish accent, “Oh, Pastor Ryan, we knew that if Aaron was with you, he was okay.” Um… I don’t know what 23-year-old-me could have ever said to give her that idea, but I’ll take it. 

Again, respect is given, not earned. Sure, time might increase the respect you feelfor someone, but that act of submission to authority is itself a sign of great respect. It is a choice. 

I so appreciate those parents who, in the early days, encouraged me and my wife. I don’t know what we would have done without them. Seriously. 

People quit giving of themselves for all types of reasons. My guess at the biggest cause would be that no one appreciated (respected) their efforts. For a man, the respect that others show him is the make-or-break issue, in my estimation. 

We have a new staff member coming on board next week. No, he hasn’t earned our respect, but if we want any kind of longevity and reciprocal love and respect from him, I think we should give it to him.   -Bro. Ryan

Sermon Summary

Sunday School:Paul’s heart was for Israel to be saved, and our heart should also be for others to be saved. The Jews had an incredible zeal for God, but that was not enough to get them to heaven. Instead, Paul taught that GOD is the one who defines what salvation is.

Wednesday:(Jan. 2) Being Word-filled means that as Christians, we take seriously the doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction of Scripture; allowing it to change us from the inside out.

Teen Announcements (click to expand)