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Sometimes We Take 1 Timothy 4:12 Too Far!

If you want to be in youth ministry for the long haul, you must learn to have fun with students. I get the fact that you Brooklyn_photoboothhave administrative tasks to get done and program stuff to get done, but taking a break to have fun keeps it all in perspective.

If you’re not careful, you can easily get caught up into being task focused and results driven. Now, I’m not saying focusing on tasks, or wanting certain results is wrong. Sometimes, we get the pressure from leadership to focus on the bottom line. But what I am saying is when those become primary, spending time with students becomes a hassle. You will find yourself saying I don’t have time for that, and students will become an inconvenience. And at Brandon_shavingcreamthe end of it all, you will be seeking to serve or work elsewhere. Now, that maybe a bit extreme, but to be honest, it’s not far from the truth.

Having fun with students helps you keep their stage of life in the right perspective, especially as you minister to them. Let’s look at 1 Timothy 4:12 –

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” (NIV)

I think we take 1 Timothy 4:12 to mean that students should be like us. When in fact, I believe it means for them to be confident in who they are in their current stage of life. Sometimes we can use that verse to put standards on students that we don’t even live up to. I believe as we get older we naturally understand less about the students we minister to, therefore, we have to be more intentional with having fun and getting to know them.

Here are few other things that may get in the way of you remembering to have fun with students:

  • You become critical about students behavior or sin.
  • You get caught up in the success or failure of the ministry. You begin to care more for the students who are not there, than the ones who are showing up every week.
  • Your own life is not where you want it to be, and the ministry begins to suffer because of your own personal struggles.

On the flipside, here are a few ways I believe we can remember to have fun with students from time to time:

  1. Remember what it was like when you were their age.
  2. Remember, students are in the process of becoming, so know that God is not finished with them.
  3. Remember, they are on God’s timing; not ours.

Hope it helps,


Continue to meet students right where they are at with devotionals and books made just for them from Simply Youth Ministry!

3 thoughts on “Sometimes We Take 1 Timothy 4:12 Too Far!

  1. You do have to remember that your youth are youth and fun is a major part of their lives, but you also have to remember that they aren’t kids anymore as well. I agree that 1 Timothy 4:12 shouldn’t be used as a standard to measure your students. It should be used to explain a stretch goal that they should try to hit.

    Remember to explain that 1 Timothy 4:12 was written to a pastor, not a lay youth group member. While every Christian should aspire to the qualities in the verse, Paul was telling Timothy how to relate with and gain the respect of the elders in the church he was leading. 1 Timothy 4:12 is not about general qualities of a Christian, but about qualities of a Christian leader.

    This past summer, our Youth VBS used this verse as the theme, and we prepared a listen outline to talk through this verse with our youth. We split it into two sessions. If you want the outline, it is posted at:

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Sometimes We Take 1 Timothy 4:12 Too ...

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