October is almost over, which means it’s been a month or so since I’ve done one of these. And because it’s been a month, the notebook is overflowing!
Too long for a tweet, too short for a blog post, here's another installment of 10 (Random) Youth Ministry Thoughts. (To browse the other volumes, simply CLICK HERE.)
1. I was reminded of a powerful truth recently: The secret to creating a hunger for reading God’s Word is to read God’s Word. It’s that simple. That’s the beauty of the Spirit-fueled nature of Scripture.
2. When it comes to discipling a group of people, it’s virtually impossible to bring the group along at the same speed. The various spiritual maturity level of your students will vary. There will always be the need for personal, more intimate spiritual guidance. Jesus modeled this very thing. This is a difficult truth to process because it causes us to rethink how we disciple teenagers. But it’s a truth nonetheless.
3. Taking the time to say something kind to a parent about his or her teenager is an investment that always returns a dividend. Always.
4. Here’s a sure fire way to know what you’re doing is paying off: When there’s an issue or emergency involving one of your students and his or her parents call you to help deal with it. In most cases, that kind of trust and value is built over years of consistent input in a teenager’s life. Yet another reason to stick it out when it gets tough.
5. In the absence of a plan, we chase felt-needs. Apply this to your programming, your discipleship philosophy, your marriage . . . It’s true. And it screams for the need for a plan.
6. Speaking and teaching are tough. But don’t sweat it: You don’t have to be a great speaker or teacher to make an impact on your students. We can trust that the Spirit will work through and with what we bring to the table. However . . .
7. Speaking and teaching are skills that can be improved upon. While teaching and speaking on a regular basis may lead you to become more comfortable doing what you do, repetition doesn’t necessarily lead to improvement. There are a ton of resources out there to help you be a better communicator.
8. Think about the three C’s of communication when it comes to how you talk to your adult volunteers, students, and parents: Clear (self-explanatory). Consistent (establish patterns of behavior and stick to them). Cross-platform (email, Facebook, text, phone calls, church bulletin, etc).
9. I love being around Christ-followers who have weathered trial and tragedy. I find their faith is richer and deeper. The same is true with youth pastors. I have found that those who have gutted it out when things were tough and are still in the game years later are invaluable sources of strength and wisdom. There is something to be said for sticking it out.
10. I wonder if we would change the way we do things if we truly realized how short our window is to make a difference in the lives of teenagers. Compared to the rest of the influences in their lives, we have so few moments to truly impact them. We have to make it count.
I'd love to know which one of these stood out to you as meaningful, or wrong, or thought-provoking, etc. Leave any thoughts in the comment section below.