Leading Teenagers Out Of The Overflow Of God's Work In Us
I have a recurring dream that I dream in various forms over and over again. In the dream, I find myself in the process of having to publicly perform a task I’m not equipped to do. Sometimes I’m playing left-field for the Red Sox and I don’t have a glove. Other times I’m walking on-stage to preach and I realize I don’t know what passage I‘m preaching from. I have even dreamed I was playing guitar in front of a stadium of people at a rock concert. One problem: I can’t play guitar.
I’m giving you this view into my weird dream life for a reason. I think there is a parallel to be made with my dream-state fixation on un-preparedness and how we approach leading teenagers to know God.
In my dreams, I am unable to successfully do something because I am not prepared for it. In most cases, it is because I’m lacking the necessary skill to accomplish what my over-active imagination has tasked me with doing. I can’t succeed because I don’t have anything to fall back on.
One of our purposes as youth workers is to help teenagers know God more. And yet, many of us actively handicap our own ability to be successful at this.
What do I mean? Simply this: we can’t take teenagers where we aren’t. We can’t instill something in them we don’t own ourselves. We can’t teach teenagers to seek God if we aren’t seeking Him.
Here’s a truth: We teach, and speak, and minister out of the overflow of what God is doing in our lives. If we aren’t actively engaging with God on our own, our ability to minister to students will suffer.
If we have ceased to pursue God, it is virtually impossible to implant a desire to pursue God in our teenagers. Sure, we can fake it. But I am convinced that teenagers can tell when we’re faking it. At some point, you can only draw so much water from a well that’s going dry. Eventually, the bucket will go down and will come up with no water.
To be an effective disciple-maker we have to first be committed to daily growing a relationship with God. More than anything, this is the foundation of effective youth ministry. It is not necessarily a new truth. This isn’t news to you. But there is a good chance you’re struggling in this area. I get face-to-face time with hundreds of youth workers a year. And I can say with confidence that many of us struggle to find time to meet God on a daily basis with no other agenda other than getting to know Him more.
This is normally the time in a blog post where I transition to the practical steps you can take to apply whatever it is I am writing about. Not today.
Who among us needs to truly be told how to draw close to God? We know that prayer is the language of relationship. We know that God gave us His Word as the most complete way we have of knowing Him. And yet, many of us, including me, fail to pray as we should. We fail to search for God in His Word on a daily basis. Our problem isn’t that we don’t have the knowledge. Our problem is that we have the knowledge and fail to act on it.
And so, instead of giving three or five steps on how to make sure you’re drawing closer to God, let this post serve as conviction for you. If this is speaking to you today, if you find yourself in a dry place, distanced from God by your own inaction, do something. Make a change. Start praying. Start meeting God in your Bible.
Your ministry and your faith will benefit greatly from it.