If we want our young people to be positive and excited about our programmes then we need to be too. That’s not to say we should use hype and try to talk our programmes up insincerely. It does mean that we see the value of every programme we run and are genuinely excited about its possibilities and potential. If you have young people participating in running a programme they should already be excited so get them to publicise it publically to the wider group, motivating them to attend.
Being positive before a programme may not be a problem for us, but remaining positive during a programme can be challenging, especially when things don’t go as planned. Every so often we would run a programme which I had put a lot of time and effort into. I eagerly looked forward to the event, knowing how successful it was likely to be. When few people turned up I was tempted to feel hurt and angry – both toward the young people and even toward God! Part of me wanted to suggest to the few who did turn up that maybe we should all just go home. Yet doing so would send them the wrong message – indicating they are somehow not “worth it”. Yet my dilemma was that if I was to remain positive and enthusiastic I would simply have to lie! Over time I came to see that while I may not feel positive, remaining positive was not dishonest but simply an expression of faith in a God who was not disappointed but in fact had His own agenda planned for a smaller turnout than expected. There were times when a low turnout meant we did not run the event as planned, but God still brought good from it as I spent time with the few who did come.
Whether it is numbers not being what we hoped for, the weather interrupting activities, young people misbehaving, or co-organisers letting us down, we must remain positive, not in a false “positive thinking” sort of way, but in a way that recognises the sovereignty of God and His ability to bring good from bad.