God is my Director

Youth ministry, movies, no drugs and a variable amount of Rock ‘n Roll

God bless youth ministry

Posted by Martin on October 27, 2006

Heard an interesting observation from the marvellous Mark Yaconelli (pictured) at the recent National Youth Workers’ Convention in the US. He was noting how we often talk about how God is ‘blessing our ministry’ when we see numbers rise, or get some funding, or see some other kind of increase. But in fact, he said, if you look at Jesus life and call to ‘take up our cross and follow him’, his call is actually a path of difficulty, where things aren’t all rosy and straight forward.

It seems to me (this isn’t Mark now) that when we really get involved with them, we HURT for and with our young people – when we get deeper into youth ministry we find ourselves sharing God’s pain for the brokenness in their lives. Their lives are often a struggle, and thus so can our work be.

So, (back to Mark again), perhaps when God really IS blessing our work, this is what it looks like: it hurts. It’s messy. It’s painful to journey with these young people. Our group isn’t growing (remember Jesus never managed to grow his youth group beyond 12 – he’d have been sacked after a year in most churches). We feel like we’re failing. There’s a great big cross on our backs and it’s getting us down. So next time someone tells you that God is really blessing their youth ministry, perhaps you should reply: I’m so sorry – how can I pray for you?

By the way, Mark has written one of the best books about Youth Ministry I’ve ever read. It’s called Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus, and it’s available in two different versions depending on your side of the Atlantic. Wherever you are, I’d recommend the US version – it’s much nicer, and it’s a hardback. Believe me, you’ll spend so much time looking at it, it might be worth the investment in the sturdier version (pictured).

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3 Responses to “God bless youth ministry”

  1. Tim said

    I like what Craig Groeschel said, “If you blame yourself for the decline you’ll be tempted to take credit for the incline!”

  2. Len said

    Nice insight and thanks for counting me “Blogroll Worthy” 🙂

  3. Kristine said

    Thanks for the book suggestion. You know what’s funny…here I am making all these plans, not one cent in sight, not one teenager ready to commit to the journey, and I know that somewhere there is momentum building and teens are finding their way to the right door that will lead them into a space meant just for them. If all I can do from where I am is write…and think, and pray, and plan, then that is fine by me. An idea starts as a just that. A vision grows from a tiny seed…perhaps a mustard.

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