As I was reading my Bible the other morning I ran across a very simple verse that stood out to me. It was in the beginning of 2 Timothy. And in Paul’s words to his young protégé, I found a very straightforward yet powerful reminder of what it is God has called us to do.
Why do we need a reminder? Because there are so many distractions in youth ministry.
Many of these distractions are mostly positive and part of the territory. But there are other distractions that actually keep us from being about the work God has called us to do.
What did Paul say to Timothy and how can it be a reminder to us? Glad you asked.
In 2 Timothy 2:1-2, Paul urges Timothy to be strengthened by the grace of God, and then he passes along this little nugget. Paul urges Timothy to take “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses [and] entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (The ESV points out that the Greek word “anthropoid” can refer to both men and women.)
What message had Paul taught Timothy? What was Timothy to pass on to other people, who would in turn pass it on to still others? Simply put, the Gospel. Paul summed up his message twice in 1 Corinthians: “we preach Christ crucified” (1 Cor. 1:23). Paul’s primary mission was Gospel transmission. And I would encourage you to see this as your primary mission, also.
If we see Gospel transmission as our primary calling as youth workers, we can begin to see our ministries in a similar light to the ministry Paul urged Timothy to adopt. This is a picture of the Gospel transmission Paul described to Timothy.
Maybe it’s not a bad idea to see our ministry in a similar light. Maybe it’s as simple as seeing what we do like this:
How does this change what you do?
First, you have to be giving your students the Gospel. I wrote about this here. If you’re curious about what this looks like in your ministry, spend a moment checking this out.
Second, we have to create an environment where we equip, encourage, and expect our students to give the Gospel away, both in word and deed.
There has always been a lot of moving parts to youth ministry. As I said earlier, some of this is just the nature of the beast. But if we’re not careful, we can lose the powerful simplicity of our primary call: Gospel transmission. To give students the Gospel, and help them give it away to others.