"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devilâ€™s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:10-12
It has been said that central to military victory is knowing one's enemy. To do this you must imagine being your enemy and how their thought processes works. You have to ask yourself if you were your enemy how would you attack you? This imagination exercise has been executed by countless war-time generals and has saved countless lives.
What is true in military conflicts with "flesh and blood" is also true with our spiritual battle with the enemy of our souls. So this morning I took a little time imagining how our ultimate enemy, Satan, would attack youth leaders. That's what this blog is all about.
With this in mind, if I were the Devil here's how I would attack youth leaders:
I'd make them compete with the shadow of the former youth leader.
I'd frustrate them with the accusation of not having a "real" ministry job.
I'd tempt them to complain about the pay (or lack thereof.)
I'd focus them on the problem teens to the point they had no time to make disciples of the willing ones.
I'd tell them not to consistently give the gospel in youth group because it could bore the Christian teens.
I'd tempt them to spend extra time discipling that super attractive high school senior of the opposite sex.
I'd do my best to get them to prioritize their ministry over their family.
I'd give them a gospel that was laced with legalism.
I'd challenge them to focus on a meeting-driven (verses mission-driven) form of discipleship.
I'd tempt them to make evangelism a program they do instead of a lifestyle they live.
I'd encourage them to measure their self worth by their youth group attendance.
I'd make them so busy that they don't have time to pray.
I'd tell them that since they don't have the gift of evangelism that they are off the hook.
I'd challenge them to face ministry challenges in their own strength.
I'd focus them on getting a big youth group instead of a healthy, growing youth group.
I'd encourage them to focus on gimmicks instead of principles.
I'd tempt them to leave parents out of the loop.
I'd encourage them to recruit any willing adult volunteers for their youth ministry.
I'd convince them that theology doesn't matter to kids.
I'd tempt them to buy the latest youth ministry curriculum without making sure it alligns with Scripture first.
I'd tell them that their teens "aren't ready" for evangelism training yet.
I'd do my best to convince them that their small youth ministry budget was their biggest problem.
I'd make them feel guilty for spending time in intercessory prayer for their teens verses other "more crucial" duties.
I'd try to compess all of their outreach efforts into a once a year mission trip.
I'd make that mission trip more about building a house in Mexico than sharing the gospel.
I'd create a chasm between the youth leader and the lead pastor.
I'd encourage them to avoid tough theological questions/discussions in the midst of a youth group meeting.
I'd twist quotes from saints by convincing them that when sharing the gospel words aren't necessary.
I'd tempt them to compare themselves to other seemingly successful youth pastors in their city.
I'd get them focused on what they are doing rather than what is getting done.
I'd fill their schedules so full that they don't have time to tend to their own souls.
This is how I would attack youth leaders if I were the Devil. How would you attack them?