I’ve been in youth ministry for over ten years! WOW, I just scared myself… In that time I’ve been blessed enough to see God at work in a number of churches across several different denominations. In that time I’ve learnt a lot about what works and what doesn’t. Youth worker you could probably do the same, so rather than doing that (plenty of blogs, websites, conferences and mentors can help with that) I’d rather like to share so you 3 ingredients I believe must be apart of every time you gather together with your teenagers.
If I’m honest this was probably that hardest one for me. I know for many youth pastors and leaders that may be the total opposite. I can so focused on Discipling young people, making sure they are hungry for God and are carrying the gospel that I forgot to even enjoy the ministry God had me doing, I quickly realised that fun is not contrary to gospel living. Jesus had fun, he enjoyed life and our youth ministry must have adequate doses of fun scattered throughout our nights. And don’t limit yourself to thinking this must only be in games. Have fun in groups, in your sermons, wherever. Fun, energy and passion are huge culture and atmosphere change agents.
We want our youth ministries to be a place where young people can come and experience genuine friendships, not only with their peers but also with leaders. Relationships is the currency of teenagers, and if you have no relational connection with them you’ll find it almost impossible to be able to communicate anything of substance to them. Your young people are not a Missional tool or evangelism target but rather peoples whose lives matter to God. We must invest relationally into them, but trust and respect and love them because God does.
If we don’t communicate Jesus we are nothing more that a cute little gathering of teenagers who entertain themselves with games and various outings. The youth ministry I inherited nearly 18 months ago was phenomenal at these first two F’s. I’d never seen a group of leaders so devoted to creating great moments in youth nights and so good at investing relationally in teenagers,seriously one if the best I’d ever seen. Over the past year our team has gone on a journey ensuring we are not just stopping there but are speaking the truth of Jesus (in love) and giving our young people an opportunity to experience, process and journey with God. Teach them the scriptures in a way that cones in with their world, let them dialogue, process and even wrestle with it
Last night I had a leadership training night with some of my youth leadership team. We were very lucky to be able to have Phill Brake senior minister of Compass Church share with our team.
He along with his associate Michael Salisbury shared some fantastic insights from their 15+ years of friendship and ministry together. Last night they shared about things they wish someone had told them at the start of their leadership journey. Here is just a few of the dot point notes I took from last night I found very helpful:
Don’t discount the role you can play in a young persons life.Have Fun!
You’ve gotta enjoy the ministry your doing.
Know what are your drainers & replenishes.
Be true to yourself
You reproduce after who you really are, not who you present to be.
Be servant hearted… But remember, God will do what he wanted, either with us or despite us.
You choose your attitude! You can choose how you are going respond to.
The grass is not always greener on the other side…
Believe Big, even if the last time ‘failed’. The size of your God, will determine the size of what you believe God can do!
Be accountable. Find out Godly mentors, for different areas. You’ll need to go find them.
I fast & I pray, I listen & obey.
I’m so thankful to Phill’s friendship and ministry over the years. I hope these quick 11 points help grow you in your life and leadership.
Your Life Matters.
If we are to reach Gen Y & Z with the Gospel we have to understand them to know where we are and where they are. In doing this it’ll help us be able to communicate and also model Jesus to them.
1) We have to understand their emerging attitudes.
Pre-Gen Y & Z generations make decisions on our own. Gen Y & Z’s operate in community, decisions are made by peers. Trust is also found in that unique community.
2) To reach them we must understand their values.
They have a very strong relational connection. They want and need community. (Their community is usually a group of three to four people they really trust and know and regards as close friends.)
They want more from life than prosperity. They want meaning. They have seen their parents generation gone after prosperity, yet to find nothing.
They want trusted guidance. They are not looking for over the top, they are looking for something they can hold on to. They are looking for good role models, someone who has integrity. They don’t need legends or heroes (they feel they can’t obtain that status, they want ordinary, real people.
3) To reach them we must understand what motivates them.
They want freedom, but in a framework. They don’t want “do what you want.” They need to know there are boundaries with out the rigidity.
4) To reach them we must understand what their spiritual expectations are.
- Practicality: don’t use “theological jargon.”diversity: they believe in multi-cultural harmony.
- Transparency: real integrity, no ego, be an average every day “Joe.”
- Security: They need security in their relationships, be encouraging, be in it for the long haul. They need to see older people live out their faith, year after year. That’s what gives them security.
What does their leader look like?
- “Get’s to know me personally.” Be concerned with people.
- “Speaks our language.”
- “Is people and team focussed.”
- “Is usually relaxed.”
- “Involves and respects me.” Get them involved!
“They don’t want hype, or hope… they want reality.”
– Mark McCrindle
Share with them the reality of the Gospel. The reality of their sinfulness, the reality of God’s grace and a new reality that is available for them in Christ.
Really enjoyed reading this post, thought you’d benefit from it also.
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