A few years ago, I picked up a copy of a leader guide a friend did for his ministry. It was little booklet of their junior high leaders who are looking to volunteer. They can read it and decide "yeah, this feels like me!" or "heck no, get me out of here!" The glossy color cover said, "don't throw me away too soon."
I held onto it for a few reasons.
1. I wanted to make something similar for our church. It traveled with me from desk to desk, bag to bag, pile to pile. I just couldn't throw the thing away.
2. It made me laugh. I liked the jokes in it. Partly because the people writing it are from the mid-west (I'm from Ohio. We come with a bit of sarcasm in our blood. Basically, if you're not sassing me, I think that you don't like me.) The jokes brought fun to otherwise boring information. Youth ministry should never be boring.
3. I respect the people who wrote it and worked on it.
So, when I finally got around to creating my own, I didn't want to change much.
At first I felt shame. C'mon Brooklyn, seriously? Can't you come up with your own stuff?
Then I felt defiant. Why Brooklyn, seriously? None of that matters.
Last I felt confident. Of course Brooklyn, it's ok. I was going to recreate one of the best intro guides I had found then confess it, and be proud of it.
I emailed Scott (the youth pastor who wrote the thing to begin with, he works at a little church you may have heard of) and attached the file. I told him.
Hey, I pretty much stole as much as I could, changing our program elements and adding a few (emphasis on few) unique thoughts of ours. I just wanted to let him know.
He wrote back quickly with a "it looks really cool".
Then a few minutes later (after actually reading it) he wrote this:
Hey - I just took a closer look at your Leaderbook … you weren't kidding – even down to "stealing" our jokes! You may be the perfect candidate to write a blog about "how to steal well in youth ministry." :) I'm going to take it as a compliment that you thought it was good enough to mostly duplicate!
Second confession. I didn't agree with all of the statistics so I changed them.
And, I added a "how to connect with our staff page". A treaty of sorts with everyone reading to chill out on the group text messages after 9PM.
I hope you now know how to "steal" and you know by "steal" I actually mean "share".
We thank the person who shared and do our best to increase the Kingdom with it.
Thanks Rubin for letting me rip off your work and for being such a great leader and example. I'm sure I've borrowed other ideas from you too. Our leaders like the guide a lot!
Who do you share with in ministry? Thank them, share something back, then keep truckin'.
Here's the link to the Leader Guide, the HPNY New Revised Sub Standard Edition
Here's the link to the original Elevate guide