I collect ideas. I have snippets of half-baked thoughts on notebooks, in Evernote, on a dry erase board by my desk, in emails or texts to myself, and so on. Sometimes they turn into a blog post or are the seed that grows a book or curriculum project. More often than not, they just sit where they are . . . waiting. Which is a bad thing for ideas.
So, rather than have them die on the vine, I thought I’d simply offer them up as a list of random youth ministry ideas. Too long for a tweet, too short for a blog post, here are 10 (Random) YOuth Ministry Thoughts. (To access other volumes of 10 Thoughts, simply CLICK HERE.)
In no particular order of importance . . .
1. It doesn’t take long for you and a student in your ministry to develop a friendship. It’s easy to enjoy being around people you like. But in my experience it takes a lot longer to develop a relationship of real influence. It takes patience and an approach that is built for the long term.
2. The process of growing to be more like Christ is inherently slow. Which makes it so very countercultural for our fast-paced, results-now culture.
3. For many of your students, the time they spend in your ministry is the main (or even only) time they’ll spend interacting with the Bible. Which is why it is absolutely imperative that you focus more on a solid study of the Bible and less on entertainment.
4. Youth ministry is hard. It’s much harder when you are doing it alone. If you don’t have someone to share the burden with, do whatever it takes to find this person. Maybe it’s an adult volunteer. Maybe it’s another youth pastor in your area. Maybe it’s a youth ministry network. Whatever it looks like, make it happen. Burnout is inevitable if you try to go it alone.
5. There are few things more rewarding than watching a teenager have one of those “faith jump” moments, where it all comes together and they act out of a deepening love of Christ. It’s fuel for the mission.
6. It has always been hard to be a Christ-follower. It was hard for the Corinthians. It was hard for our great grand parents. But man, it seems like being a teenage Christ-follower in the 21t Century is as hard as it gets. They are on the front line of the battle between culture and faith.
7. I led a training workshop at a church not to long ago with a super sharp group of adult volunteers. Toward the end, a veteran volunteer boiled down the struggle to a simple question: “How do we make teenagers care about their faith?” I’ve been marinating on this question ever since. It may very well be THE question.
8. My wife started volunteering with me in our youth ministry about 6 years ago. I am constantly empowered by how much influence and impact she has on her students. It makes youth ministry a “we” thing and not a “me” thing.
9. We speak, and teach, and minister out of the overflow of what God is doing in us. If we are not feeding ourselves, there is no overflow. We can’t neglect our own pursuit of God.
10. My students know they can tell me anything. I have earned their trust. They also know that if they tell me anything I deem harmful to themselves or others, I will not hesitate to share it with their parents or gaurdian. Good boundaries keep relationships healthy.
That does it for now. Look for more the next time the notebooks and dry-erase boards overflow. :)