youth ministry history
I’m missing some hair on my arms. Having a mixed European ancestry, I tend to do okay in arm hair. I’m not quite at the Robin Williams or Sean Connery level, but I have enough that you could tell from a reasonable distance that I’m missing a few patches.
It tracks back to an outdoor revival service I recently spoke at. As a sermon illustration, I had a student roll duct tape around my body. The problem was I happened to be wearing a t-shirt and shorts due to the hot weather. When it came time to rip off the tape, I heard the shrieks from the audience before I added some of my own. I gutted through the pain and even incorporated it into my lesson.
Eventually I headed off stage, found a private area and closed my eyes to pray over what had just happened. Moments later, I began to feel cold water on my arms. I opened my eyes and watched as an older woman poured water from her water bottle into her hands. She then sprinkled it onto the spots on my arms where the tape had been ripped. I instantly felt transported into that moment in history when a woman washed Jesus’ feet with her hair. The emotions were overwhelmingly humbling.
In those few seconds, I was an active, living part of the Bible. Of course, I don’t recommend repeating the circumstances that got me to that point (and never, ever let duct tape touch your arm hair). What I do suggest is serving others so they can experientially enter into Scripture:
- Turn your next road trip into a mystery trip.Instead of telling students where they’re going, let them be restless without direction as hours pass by. Just before you arrive at an incredible destination, make a pit-stop, read Hebrews 11, and debrief how the travel experience can feel like following God.
- Teach on passages from Acts where people were sent on a mission.Spend several weeks in a row ending your youth group gatherings with a commissioning service. Have key leaders pray over students as missionaries to their towns and schools.
- Before every outreach event, have a communion service with anyone who is serving. Connect the sacrifice of Jesus with the sacrifice they’re about to make. These are just a few ideas. I’d love to hear some of yours.
Thank you for loving students!