Here’s what happened when I gave the SAME message twice in a year…
Yep, that headline is exactly what it looks like
I got confused about which message I had spoken to which crowd and I messed up. I gave the exact same message to my group on a Sunday in September and then again in April.
When one of my small group leaders cautiously approached me to let me know what had happened, my stomach dropped.
But then I got the feedback from students, and I stopped to think about the way I teach.
They loved it.
Okay, so that’s not entirely true either.
Since our students attend, on average, twice a month; it’s likely that half of the people there hadn’t heard the message the first time.
And I know for a fact that there were at least a few students who were there the first time around, but didn’t remember hearing the message. I think that means something different entirely.
But the not-insignificant handful of students who’d both heard and remembered hearing the same message twice seemed to think it was awesome.
“That message really affected me when you gave it at the beginning of the school year, but I’d kind of fallen off and I needed to hear it again.”
“It’s weird that it was the same Bible story as last time but that it spoke to me in a completely different way this time.”
“I watch the same movies over and over again, so I guess it’s not different to hear the same sermon twice. I liked it.”
What does my gaffe mean for your ministry?
First, that God can and does use our oops moments for his glory and for life change.
And second, that it might not be a bad thing to repeat things over and over again for our students.
I don’t think you need to go out and do what I did. But teaching from the same section of Scripture or teaching on the same concepts over and over again isn’t the worst way to reinforce that those ideas really matter.
Sometimes when I look at my teaching calendar, I’ll stop myself from teaching on something because maybe I just taught on it a month ago.
After all, if it’s worth teaching once, it’s probably worth teaching again. And if it’s not worth talking about for more than one night a year, maybe it’s not really worth talking about after all.
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Aaron Helman is on a mission to end youth worker burnout by providing the training and resources that you haven’t been taught… until now. Smarter Youth Ministry exists to help you learn how to manage their time and resources better so that you can do more ministry with less frustration. All of that having been said, you most likely know him as the creator of “Lamentation or Taylor Swift Lyric.”