A Reminder to Youth Leaders
As leaders in the church, we are to dedicate ourselves to the knowing of something in order to train those we lead. In this age of entertainment and impatience, what is it that you seek to know?
Some friends of ours are youth pastors at the church. And, my wife has often helped them with some of their creative responsibilities. The relationship has provoked me to think about many things in regards to ministry – especially that of young people.
(I am not a youth minister and don’t pretend to be one. However, I do have children, a Bible, and a working knowledge of how the two merge. I have spent many hours considering my role as a father and a teacher of our family and how to raise children up to be mature Christians in a very distracting world.)
One of the things that I have been considering lately is what we leaders set ourselves to know in order to be good trainers. What is it that we meditate on and spend our energies on to put ourselves into a position to raise up young believers?
The way you answer that question will say a lot about what your ministry will see in the future. If you so strongly desire to identify with your audience’s culture and be counted as fun and entraining, then you will spend much of your time experimenting and learning about the world. If you so strongly desire to help your audience understand the deep truths of the Bible so that they can withstand the trials and temptations of life, then you will spend much of your time studying and seeking the depths of the God’s Word.
One way will train your children to be children, your youth to be youth. The other way will train your children and youth to be mature adults. Still, some have convinced themselves that the two can merged whereby the toleration level is equaled. But this is not true.
A wise pastor once said, “If the people are ignorant of Christianity, don’t dumb down the Bible, smart up the people.” The idea is to reach down and draw the young crowd out of the water that they joyfully drown in, not jump in and play the same games.
I wonder if next time we sit in a leadership meeting or at the table with pastors, we should seek to examine that which our consumes our conversations. How much time do we spend trying to make our youth think that we are young and cool rather than mature and wise? How much of our time and energy is spent in drinking the pure water of Scripture so that we can satisfy other with it?
When the Corinthian church was becoming more childish, seeking to be entertained, they turned to those leaders who were more fun and exciting. Paul rebuked them and set himself apart from those leaders saying, “I, when I came to you brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom, for I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:1-2).
What do you know? What do you set your mind to understand? What is it that you are creative and energetic about for the sake of those who you shepherd? Is it true that you know more about MTV, celebrity gossip, new music and dances than you know about the Bible? If so, let your prayers be that your desires change and you persevered in knowing Christ. The lives of your young folks depend on it.