I had an interesting conversation not too long ago with a fellow youth worker who was feeling overwhelmed. Our conversation kind of centered around this statement, “The world is getting crazier and crazier, and it almost seems like what we’re doing isn’t working.” I completely understand where this youth worker is coming from. We live in a world were Christian children are being persecuted like never before. Churches are trading the truth for a lie, and fatherlessness is at an all time high. Suicide is stealing the hopes, and dreams of all ages, especially youth up to 24 years of age. Mental illness is robbing our students of their joy and hope for tomorrow. Students are trading in their purity of heart, mind and body for a counterfeit love that is crippling their ability to love themselves and others. It seems like parents are caring more about their kids success in academics and sports than their walk with Christ. Busyness seems to consume the family.
So I get it. It looks really, really bad. But Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” I believe the church stands in the balance representing and declaring to pursue God’s best, and youth ministry sits at a unique angle. We present what it looks like to follow Jesus and pursue God’s best as a student. This is why it can’t be youth group as usual. We need to be presenting and modeling what it looks like to follow Jesus and pursue God’s best. We can’t give up. We must continue.We are living in a time where we have to be all about introducing students to the real Jesus.
We need youth groups to be a place where sin isn’t comfortable, and the Holy Spirit can freely do his job in the lives of our students. And at the same time we need youth group to be a place where students can find refuge, affirmation, love, hope, a friend, prayer, and the truth.
Youth group needs to be a place where lives aren’t changed for the moment, but forever. We need youth groups to be less about gatherings, and more about cultivating and mobilizing purpose.
You need to know that what we do matters more than we could ever imagine. Stop reading books and blog posts that say otherwise.
I heard a speaker once say “for the church not to minister to students in their context, is the same as the church saying God doesn’t care about the stage of life they’re in.”
Students needs to know that God has something to say about the stage of life they’re in, and he also has work for them to do. They need to know that they have purpose. So don’t give up. We have been called to plant seeds and trust God to yield the fruit. The fruit can come the same day or it can come 20 years from the day the seed has been planted. So keep going and keep trusting God.
Hope it helps,