We love our friends over at Download Youth Ministry. They have a great group of bloggers who write timely and relevant youth ministry content. One of those writers is Justin Knowles.
Justin writes a really good post on how we respond to students who seem to turn their backs on Christ and slip back into some of their old struggles.
Justin has some really solid takeaways. We've included one in the excerpt below. To read the rest of the article, simply click on the link at the bottom of the page.
I think one of the hardest things about a job as a youth worker/pastor is watching a student who used to be so involved not be anymore. A student who you have seen God made a complete 180 degree turn in go back to the ways they struggled with before and become more and more distant. It is heart breaking. It is even more heart-breaking when you need to console the mother of that student because she doesn’t know what to do anymore. What does one do with this? What can we possibly say in times like this? What can we actively do with this to move forward?
I’m going to be honest, I don’t know. It’s hard.
I have been working through this myself lately with some students and what I keep coming back to is this verse:
“How tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God. That power is the same divine power which was demonstrated in Christ when he raised him from the dead.” (Ephesians 1:19b-20)
Something I have learned more this year than in my previous years in youth ministry is that we have the power to change no one. As much as we want to, we don’t have the power to do this. But we serve a God who can change the hearts and minds of those He created and loves. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power in which can cause someone to be open to listen to God, to others and take advice to turn their hearts around.
I don’t know if there are more steps to this, but this is what I have been doing this past year and I have seen God move in students who used to be far from Him to call them back and I am confident in prayer that He will do the same with those students right now that are far from Him as well.
Pray: Prayer is simple but it is not always easy. Patience is key to prayer. Pray God begins to soften their heart to be open to talking about what is happening.
CLICK HERE to head over to Download Youth Ministry and read the rest of Justin's article.