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Youth Ministry: Your "God-sized" Task

11

[ym360 Note: Happy Memorial Day! As we do on holidays, we're running a  previously-posted article on the ym360 Blog while our team is enjoying the day off. We hope you enjoy yours, as well.]

Many of you have a lot on your mind right now. You're a youth worker, after all. You probably have a long day ahead of you. And for a lot of you this is your night to have your mid-week youth service. But I want to challenge you to stop and think about something for a moment. It's a simple truth, really. But one that should lift your spirits and give you a boost of confidence and empowerment.

The simple truth is this: God does not call us to failure.

It's a theological truth that God puts certain tasks, rolls, and responsibilities before us. There is Kingdom-work God needs done, and the Church is His answer. You are probably in the position you are in because you felt God's leading to accomplish this task. You felt God call you to do the work of leading students deeper in their relationship with Christ.

If this is true, you're not alone. The Bible is chocked full of people who God called to a specific task. Think about it . . .

  • Noah was tasked with building a boat.
  • Abraham was tasked with taking a journey.
  • Moses and Joshua were tasked with leading a people.
  • Gideon was tasked with leading an army.
  • Solomon was tasked with building a Temple.
  • Isaiah was tasked with convicting a people.
  • Philip was tasked with preaching to a foreigner.
  • Paul was tasked with being a mouthpiece to the Gentiles.

The standard is clear . . . God does indeed call us to certain tasks and responsibilities. But if we're honest, the call to minister to youth can seem overwhelming at times. How many times have you felt unsure of the direction you are taking? How often have you encountered a challenge you felt ill-equipped to handle? When was the last time you looked at a student and wondered if you the work you were doing was making any impact at all? (It's OK to admit it, we've all been there.)

The tasks God puts in front of us are not easy. They aren't meant to be.

God's tasks are by nature God-sized. They are too big for us to handle on our own. But this is actually the coolest part. You see, God never calls us without equipping us. God does not set us up to crash and burn. If God calls us to a task, we can be sure He will empower us to successfully do His work.

  • When Moses worried about his task, God said, "I will be with you."
  • God told Joshua, "Have no fear. I will be your strength.'
  • When Isaiah felt unworthy, God symbolically cleansed him, ensuring Isaiah of His presence and empowerment.
  • God made sure Gideon knew who was the REAL power source behind Gideon's task.
  • The Lord came to Paul in a vision to empower him to keep preaching, keep evangelizing.

In every case, God encouraged and empowered those He called. Through His sovereignty, His Spirit, and His Word, God leads us to actively embrace the tasks He puts before us. He is with us, and gives us the strength to move forward. We succeed when, in humility, we recognize that we are inadequate to achieve any Kingdom-task on our own. When we obediently and faithfully rely on the power of the One who calls us, God will use us to achieve His purposes.

God does not call us to failure.

Now, this doesn't mean we won't fail. (Ask Jonah how his task went.) When called to Kingdom-tasks, plenty of us do indeed fail. But it's not because God left us high-and-dry. And we can be confident that God works to redeem our failures, teaching us where we fell short and preparing us for future tasks.

And it doesn't mean our task will be all that fun. Hosea's sure wasn't. And for that matter, neither was Ezekiel's. There were days when Paul probably didn't like getting persecuted for Christ's name. But God's plan calls for the Church to be about His work. We are God's hands and feet on this earth. When we're obedient to the tasks God puts in front of us, depending on His strength, wisdom, guidance, and presence to lead us, we find ourselves in the very center of God's will. And it is a wonderful place to be.

So be encouraged today that God is empowering you to lead out in the tasks He has put before you. You are called and equipped. God will not call you to fail.

 

About the Author

andy@ym360

Andy Blanks is the co-founder of youthministry360. Andy has been teaching the Bible and discipling teenagers pretty much weekly for the last 14 years. He lives in Birmingham with his awesome wife and their four children. Andy is an avid runner and loves just about anything involving being outdoors. Follow him on Twitter (http://twitter.com/andyblanks).

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11 comments

Andy, Great post, sometimes we put so much on our plate we forget that core task or purpose that God has created us to do. Something I think we need to do (and I would be interested in other people's thoughts) is communicate our skill set to others so that they can invest in us and encourage us to move towards the vision. I know that sounds very self centered, but when people are unclear in what we need to do they'll ask us to do things that pulls us from side to side. Thoughts?
by: Chris Wesley February 23, 2011 10:46 am
To be totally honest, last night I broke down and thought, 'I can't do this anymore'. I felt like the task was too big for me and that i'm ill equiped for it. Thank you for reminding me that it is too big for just me, and that he's continuing to equip me. It's exactly what i needed to be reminded of right now. Thanks for the encouragement.
by: Holly February 23, 2011 11:19 am
Holly, Your faithfulness in keeping on is what is encouraging! Stay strong, and trust that God will indeed equip you for the task He has set in front of you. God bless you!
by: andy@ym360 February 23, 2011 1:09 pm
Great post Andy as I am sure you spoke to many youth workers on many different levels. I appreciate the consistent encouragement you give me and others. What spoke to me is that God does not call us without equipping us. Thanks for that!
by: Robbie Mackenzie February 23, 2011 5:18 pm
Robbie, thanks for the encouragement! We are simply trying to be faithful and obedient to the call God put on our lives. We believe teenagers need to know Christ deeper through a knowledge and application of God's Word, and we believe youth workers in the local church are in a unique and meaningful position to lead students. So, we are passionate about producing great Bible Study resources, and about equipping and supporting youth workers! If we can do that, even on a small level, we feel like we are being responsive to God's call. Thank you for stopping by the blog, and for taking the time to touch base with us. We're here to support you! So, let us know what we can do to serve you and your ministry.
by: andy@ym360 February 24, 2011 8:12 am
Hmmm... I guess I agree and disagree with this blog. Eternally yes we r not called to failure but how many ppl in the bible wud have their lives summed up in failure if we weren't reading it 2000 years failure or having a heavenly perspective on their life. How many prophets weren't listened to? How many martyr's gave their lives? Job never had his trials explained to him. (we get that benefit he didn't) Jeremiah watched his ppl dragged off into exile. Hosea's marriage was a failure and his audience didn't get the message. Isaiah was called to harden ppl's hearts. Paul was able to heal others but couldn't heal himself (thorn in the flesh). I guess what I'm saying is sometimes we are called to failure. Sometimes failure is right in the center of God's will for our lives. Now I realize that's not the end of the story but how many of us get to see our lives from heaven's perspective while we ae living here on earth.
by: Derian February 23, 2011 10:02 pm
Derian, What great perspective! So, if I get what you are saying, you are making the distinctive between how we might judge, or measure, success and failure? We may be faithful to God's call, and in a spiritual, or heavenly sense, succeed . . . But in an earthly sense, based on human measurements, fail? Hmmmm . . . . I like it! It's an interesting twist that still puts the emphasis on God's sovereign plan, and our obedience. I think my main point would be the very specific tasks God puts in front of us and the empowering that accompanies the tasks. For the prophets, God's call was to speak and preach. He gave them the words (empowerment) and they faithfully preached (success). I would say Hosea was successful in following through on the task God put in front of him; he married Gomer when he certainly could have responded in disobedience (see Jonah). Isaiah was ABSOLUTELY called to prophecy a hardening of people's hearts, and by being a faithful mouthpiece for the Lord, he was successful. I think we're talking about two ends of the same issue:) I think you might be speaking about the outcome, or perceived outcome, which, as I said, is a cool twist. I am more focusing on the immediate task set before us. I believe if you look at Scripture, God empowers us to succeed at the tasks he calls us to. I think what you are very wisely saying is that God's measure of "success" and the world's are two very different things. This is something for all of us to keep in mind as we diligently work for the Lord, and obediently listen to His calling. Thanks for sharing! Stop by anytime!
by: andy@ym360 February 24, 2011 8:21 am
Yup that's exacty what I am saying
by: Derian February 24, 2011 10:23 am
Awesome! I love the different perspective. Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Stop back by often!
by: andy@ym360 February 24, 2011 10:29 am
AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! message. Today is March 1st 2011 and God has put this in my spirit to do for about a year and tonight is our first meeting and after reading your comment Im so encouraged. I know I can do this cause God has called me and he is a God that don't fail . Thank you and God bless you
by: Patricia Battle March 1, 2011 1:00 pm
Wow! This is a very great reminder! I'd surely be sharing this with my youth co-workers in the coming days. God is with us! That's for sure! ;)
by: standingupforJC June 20, 2013 12:10 am