This week has been the week that inevitably comes after every holiday season; back to normal. All the parties are over, the presents have been opened and returned to the store, school starts up again, and all the normal programs at church are once again happening on schedule. I don’t know about you, but for me the holiday break this year seemed extremely long.
As I was preparing my Wednesday night message I realized that I had not given a message in a little over a month. Maybe you don’t speak every week and this is normal, but for me this was a very long time. I was excited to jump right into a new message series and proclaim God’s word to these students (if you can’t tell, speaking is probably my favorite part of my job). As I was going over my notes one last time on Wednesday afternoon, it hit me that I had virtually no humor, sweet movie clips, or funny pictures to pull in and keep the interest going. Yet, I truly felt like it didn’t matter. I looked over my outline, the scripture, and the illustrations I had planned and it felt complete. By changing it around; adding in the humorous piece and making it fit, it seemed it would make the message not as strong.
As I was contemplating these changes, God laid this question on my heart. ‘What is the purpose of this message; to teach them God’s word or to entertain them?’ I realized that by adding humor just for the sake of humor would indeed weaken the message God intended for that night. Don’t hear me wrong, I have nothing against using humor, funny pictures, video clips, and so on to teach God’s truths. I often use all of the above. But, I wonder how many times I have watered down God’s message in the spirit of humor or entertainment factor.
God has not called us into youth ministry to entertain students; this generation of students does not need anymore entertainment options. The truth is that this is a battle we can’t win. My messages are no match for xbox 360 or utube or guitar hero. But the beauty is that they don’t have to be!
I gave my message as planned, and the crazy thing was that there were less distracted students and more heart felt reactions to that message than there has been in a long time. No matter how many entertainment options there are, it does not change how much we need God and His word.
The lesson I learned, that I want to pass on to you, is don’t water down God’s message in the name of humor or entertainment value. Students have all the entertainment they want. What they need is God, His truth, and His power working in their lives; and that is why they come to church.