Interested in the reality of youth ministry? Youth, in general?
The following quote is from No Guts, No Glory (Matthias Media).
It is, quite simply, the first book I recommend to youth pastors.
I wish parents and “senior” pastors would read it.
Any veteran of youth work will nod and remember, probably with tears, particular teens who were negatively impacted not by drugs, sex, or rock-and-roll…but by parents.
Read it if you dare:
“Unfortunately, it is sometimes Christian parents
who tell their teenagers that they do not have time for proper involvement
in Christian activities, because they need to be studying, learning music,
training for sport, or whatever it is.
This reflects a problem with the Christian life of the parents
rather than the teenagers;
it is what we want for our children that really
reflects our values in life.“
>If you serve Jesus as a youth worker…regardless of what the Board says, regardless what parents want (usually to pass their parenting responsibilities on to you), regardless of what is easier and shows quicker “results” (though they may vaporize the next day, week, month)…read and remember this, from Brett Kunkle of Stand To Reason (if you are not using this website, do so).
If you are not directly involved in youth work, pass this on to those who are.
I noted that my PREVIOUS BLOG was one of the most important I’ve ever passed on; this is of equal importance…perhaps even moreso:
“Youth groups are good at telling kids how we should behave but undermine those efforts by failing to address what we should believe and why.”
And…if you want to do something to “address what we should believe and why,” you need to order and pass on several copies of this:http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0830834222&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr
>In far too many churches and ministries there are vigilantes ever-alert to yell at the youth group leader because the students acted…well, like students. A misplaced chair, a small stain, a running through the “sacred” sanctuary…
Found this to be rather funny…sort of:
>I was captured by Christ while in jail awaiting a prison sentence. I now work in both youth ministry and prison ministry.
I’m struck by the similarities…it is relatively easy to make “decisions” for Christ in prison and in Christian camps.
It is a different story to live out those decisions when returning to the real world…whether from a Christian camp or a prison sentence.
As the inmates are always told just before they get out, “Don’t leave Jesus at the gate.” The same thing applies to students leaving Christian camps.
Of course a week of summer camp doesn’t compare in most ways to a 3, 5, 10 or more year prison sentence.
But the fact remains – going back to the “real” world is where the decision must be lived out in dependence on God, in discipline, in accountability, and in community.
>If insanity is repeating the same thing and expecting different results, the style and strategy of “typical” youth ministry needs careful examination, focused prayer, and probable readjustment.
But the need to present the Biblical gospel to youth (and younger children) is stylistically evidenced here:
>The percentage “game” continues to be a huge part of the problem of discipleship. It is certainly not unique to teenagers, though playing the percentage game as a Christian teen significantly impacts the continuance of the problem as an adult.
Colossians 3.4 reads, “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (emphasis obviously added)
So the question I pose to myself often (but not often enough), and present to both teens and adults, is simple yet telling…is Christ part of your life, or is He your life?
I wish Midland or any other youth ministry had the opportunity and direction to hold a week of youth camp “by invitation only.” Coordinating with youth pastors a list of students who seem to be intent and intentional on serving the Lord would be put together, invitations sent, and a week of genuine “feeding of the sheep” rather than trying to “entertain the goats” would transpire.
In most camps there is a “fun” event after the evening chapel…thus students and staff are torn between responding to God’s challenge and recognizing that “hey, I might miss the fun” or “what if our schedule gets off track”?
In over thirty summers of speaking at 5-8 youth camps each year I can recall only twice when the evening “event” was cancelled…and both of those incidents (one in Maryland, the other in Missouri) were as close to Biblical revival as I’ve seen.
Lord, do it again…and help us to get out of the way, out of “the way we do it,” out of our bondage to schedules.
It’s been a problem for Christians throughout history. But the advent of electronic media, the lessening of parental involvement, and the acceptance by society as a whole of things unheard of a few years ago makes it an even larger negative influence on teenagers today.
It’s not “just” sleeping around…it’s homosexuality and bisexuality…and it is just as evident in the Bible belt as it is in the inner city.
Parents…get involved when your kids are four and five years old…youth pastors…risk getting fired, talk about the subject often!
Anyone over twenty or so…it is a different world.
One of the things that infuriates me is too many Christians let the world make our standards…re movie ratings. And it disgusts me that parents boast they never let their children see “R” rated movies; but allow them to see all the PG 13 filth there is…if you know anything of the “plots” and the scenes, you’d probably let your kids watch 100 “R” movies rather than 1 “pg 13”.
So how can a teen (or an adult single) in the 2010’s maintain a commitment to purity…one way only…never be alone with another single. Never. Never. Never.
Don’t “oh, but Jack” me. It is the only way to be certain you don’t cave into flesh fed by our decadent culture.