God is my Director

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

Ch…ch…ch…ch…ch…changes

Posted by Martin on November 4, 2006

Turn and face the strangeOne of the hardest things in youth ministry is when you and the team around you are putting in hour after hour of work, planning spectacular events and profound talks and discussions, and no-one’s really interested. You’re all trying your hardest to build relationships with them, and the young people look at you as if they’re Haley Joel Osment in the Sixth Sense, and you’re Bruce Willis. Month after month goes on like this, and you’re getting nowhere. Some of the leaders give up. The adult church starts to put pressure on you, asking ‘why is nothing happening?’ You start to think that you’re not cut out for this at all.

We’ve had one of those years. But suddenly, almost without warning, something is happening. The group has changed gear. Community is starting to form where once there was just blank space. And one or two of the young people are displaying radical changes of heart and lifestyle. We’ve seen one kid go from ‘that one who is never going to make it’ to the beating heart of the group. It’s incredible to witness.

Two things to say about this. First – you wil never cease to be amazed by the transforming power of the living God. He changes lives, and he does it all the time, and in such a way that Paul McKenna can only dream about. Second – things take time. Youth ministry is a long haul job, and success rarely happens overnight. When we invest in young people, we’re putting the foundations in place, but often no-one can see what is actually being built for many months. The adult church needs to realise this key principle – that young people’s lives are changed in years, not days – or we’ll always be set up to fail.

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One Response to “Ch…ch…ch…ch…ch…changes”

  1. I am reminded of something Henri Nouwen once said, “I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self” – my “flogging it” is often for nothing, when God has moved and I have no idea why things have just started to “happen” it reminds me that I am nothing, He is everything – I need reminding of that every day!

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