Working with students is incredibly fun, and incredibly challenging. Not that us adults are perfect, but one of the biggest frustrations I've dealt with in working with students in the lack of commitment. Although they might be passionate about the ministry, the lack of experience and maturity can cause some issues when it comes to making a commitment. Here are some things that I've been trying to teach our students to help them mature in their ability to commit.
1) Consider carefully before making a commitment.
Even if it seems like a simple, menial task, if you've committed to doing it, somebody (more than likely, somebodies) is going to depend on you to get it done, so don't commit to something unless you know for certain (short of a real emergency) that you'll be able to do it.
Before you make a commitment, here are three key factors you should consider:
a) Check your calendar and check your spouse's/parents' calendar. If you don't keep a calendar, you shouldn't be committing to anything.
b) Ask questions and get all of the facts before you commit. Do I know all of the info? What time, energy, preparation will this require of me?
c) Is this something I really want to do? There are times when we SHOULD do things that we don't exactly want to do...BUT, people tend to be much more committed to the things that they sincerely are excited about participating in.
It's OK to say "no" sometimes. It's not OK to stretch yourself thin because you say "yes" to everything...which leads us to our second point.
2) Remember your priorities.
Do you have a list of the priorities in your life? My priority list, starting with the most important, looks something like: God, Family, Friends, Church, etc. If I'm asked to do something that doesn't match up with my priorities, I probably don't need to make that commitment. For example, if I'm asked to do something related to church that forces me to miss out on the quality time I need with my family, I'll want to consider that commitment carefully. If I'm invited to participate in something with my friends that will cause my relationship with God to suffer, that's a commitment I probably shouldn't make.
3) Stick to it.
The definition of "commitment" is: a pledge or promise; and obligation.
I'm not crazy about committing to things that I know I won't enjoy, but sometimes, you've got to do what you've got to do. Even when a commitment becomes an obligation, it's still honoring of God to follow through, with a good attitude. Any commitment you make to another person is a commitment you're making to God.
...you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, "Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord." Simply let your "Yes" be "Yes," and your "No" be "No"; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
There are very few things that will either build up or tear down your reputation and witness than your level of commitment. What you commit to says a whole lot about your priorities, about your character, about your faith. As do the commitments you break.
My favorite people to serve alongside in ministry are not always the people with the prettiest face or the most talent...my favorite people are those who I can count on, those people who are dependable.