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Katie has been serving teenagers and their families with her youth pastor husband, Darren, for over 20 years. They have three teenage boys that share the ministry adventure with them. She writes a blog for ministry spouses called Glass House Spouse and she is a contributing author to several Group resources including the Simple Truth Bible, Simple Truth LIVE Curriculum, Teenagers 50 Toughest Questions, and Two Sides of Youth Ministry. On any given day you might find her on the beach basking in the Corpus Christi sun or geocaching with her boys.

What I like most about this week’s articles from Kurt and Josh is the necessity of the “ASK.” Too often, student ministry is the land of “invite and expect.” Send one mass email, do a funny video requesting help, make an appeal from the stage, and we expect people to respond. We’re actually surprised when they don’t respond. The problem is that our efforts only address invitation. Salesmen have known about the “ASK” for years. Do you think they would dare let you off the car lot after you have driven the car and heard the sales pitch without actually asking you what it would take for you to buy the car? No way! But that’s exactly what we expect to happen when we make a mass appeal and never follow up with a personal “ASK.” Threaded throughout Kurt and Josh’s articles is the evidence of the “ASK.” Personally ask department leaders if they need help and want to be a part of your ministry fair.

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Give your students the opportunity to talk directly with a ministry leader. Quickly engage your student in ministry. Ask for ministry ideas from fellow youth workers. The “ASK” gives people the opportunity to respond. It shows them that you value them and that they are more than just any-warm-body-that-would-show-up.

This is not something that comes naturally. The “ASK” takes practice. Just like car dealers have to work on closing the deal, youth workers have to be intentional about following through on requesting a response. It takes a lot of time to approach people personally, interview them for volunteer positions, identify their potential, and assess their spiritual gifts. It takes patience to ask someone to pray about their place in ministry and wait for their answer. It takes courage to follow up and request an answer even if it is a “no.” It’s a lot easier to just make that mass appeal and hope for the best.

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But at its very heart, youth ministry is about equipping the saints for the work of service to the building up of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13). The “ASK” is one tool we can use to help those in our influence understand their place in God’s kingdom and give them real opportunity to put action to their gifts.

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