The bullhorn or the mirror...these are your two choices. You will either use one or the other when you realize your youth ministry has stalled spiritually and/or numerically.
It's tempting to use the bullhorn. Quite honestly it feels good to pick it up, switch it on and rant about why your youth ministry is not growing.
With it we can let everyone around us know what's wrong with teenagers today. We can blame our small youth ministry budget, apathetic teenagers, disengaged parents and misaligned pastors.
Many youth leaders often turn their bullhorns on their teenagers' technology. I've heard youth leaders say things like, "SnapChat, Instragram and YouTube are the culprits! They distract our teenagers from what matters most!"
And when all else fails we can blame the Devil. After all he lists his professional skils as "stealing, killing and destroying" and that is exactly what he is seeking to do to any youth group momentum he and his demonic cohorts may encounter.
The bullhorn feels good to use. It's staticky rantings justify our youth ministry shortcomings by laying the blame on other people or situations.
But a better (yet harder) choice is the mirror. We can look into it and take responsibility for our own youth ministry's struggles. But, for it to work, it has to be a long, honest and hard look.
As James 1:23-25 reminds us, "Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do."
We need to look intently into the mirror of God's Word and see what we are doing wrong in our lives and in our youth ministries and make corrections accordingly. We need to make youth ministry less about playing games and more about helping our teenagers live out a mission. We need to make sure we are fueling our efforts through prayer, equipping our teenagers to make and multiply disciples and recruiting leaders who model this kind of lifestyle. We need to make sure our youth ministries are built on the 7 values that fueled the growth of the early church in the book of Acts.
After all Jesus made a promise in John 15:5 to his followers when he said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." If we stay dependent on him and we allow him to stay active through us we "will bear much fruit."
If that's not happening in your ministry right now refuse to pick up the bullhorn by blaming people or situations. Instead choose to look in the mirror and start making changes.
By the way, we would love to help you make those changes. We have a small team of Dare 2 Share Certified Trainers scattered across the nation to help. These top-notch ministry leaders are living out these values and want to help coach you to make the changes that need to be made in your youth ministry.
Because after you've "looked intently into the perfect law that gives freedom" (aka "the mirror") it's time to do something about it.
Let us help you!