Someone once defined insanity as "doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results." Isn't this what typical youth ministry is doing? We have the same basic strategies as we did 30 years ago and we are getting the same basic results (maybe even less!)
Join Greg Stier this month as he discusses what it's like to be a Youth Leader with a little bit of a need. How we can combat the struggles and succeed in our Youth Ministries.
It's easy to see teens as the "necessary evil" that you, as a pastor have to put up with when leading your church. After all, they are often the ones texting, SnapChatting or just plain old chatting during your sermon. They roll their eyes when you make your best jokes and don't at all look interested in your most insightful sermon points.
It's easy to write teenagers off...but don't.
Throughout history teenagers have been unleashed as primary change agents in almost every significant spiritual awakening. From the early church (the disciples were most likely teens when they began to follow Jesus) to St Patrick and his young posse of preachers to the Reformation to the Great Welsh Revival to the Great Awakening, teenagers have played a central role to advancing the kingdom of God and reviving the church in the process.
Jonathan Edwards, the chief historian of the Great Awakening and preacher of the awe-inspiring "Sinners in the hands of an Angry God" wrote these words about this unparalleled spiritual movement, "the revival has been chiefly amongst the young."
These hormone-filled young people who take risks, break rules and drive us crazy at times can be used by God to accelerate his kingdom forward in fresh and exciting ways. And when this movement comes alive in your church your congregation will never be the same!
Does your youth ministry need a bit of a kick? Join Greg Stier this month as he discusses and dives deep into 7 easy, different ways to help take your youth ministry to the next level.
I'm tired of all the school violence and I'm sure you are too
My heart drops every time I hear about another school shooting. Twenty years ago my heart dropped when the news came about the Columbine High School massacre.
I was in a room with six youth leaders promoting Dare 2 Share's "When all hell breaks loose..." conference on spiritual warfare and evangelism. That's when the pastor of the church we were meeting at interrupted our small gathering and informed us, "All hell has broken loose at Columbine High School. You may all want to stop and pray."
Just 30 minutes across Denver all hell was breaking loose as two teen killers walked into Columbine High School and reeked unholy havoc in the cafeteria, classrooms, hallway and library. 13 lives were lost that day before the shooters turned the guns on themselves.
Last week all hell broke loose again in the Denver area as two armed teenagers entered the STEM School in Highlands Ranch (7.5 miles away from Columbine.) These two hate-filled young people injured 8 teenagers and killed one before they were finally stopped.
When school violence like this erupts so do all of the proposed solutions. Some chant "More gun control!" and others "Arm the teachers!" But neither of these solutions will ultimately work in my opinion. There are almost 400 million guns in the hands of civilians in the United States.
It's already out of control.
And arming teachers could work in some situations but backfire in others.
Confrontational evangelism: "the kind of evangelism that communicates the Gospel in an abrasive, in-your-face way."
I'll never forget taking an outside escalator in Las Vegas down to the street level with my then 12 year old daughter Kailey. There were hundreds of people on the sidewalk below us as we descended toward the large crowd.
At the bottom of the escalator was a man with a repent sign and, no joke, a bullhorn. He incessantly yelled "Repent!" at all the people coming down the escalator and others walking by.
My daughter turned to me and asked, "Daddy, what is that man doing?" I replied, "He is attempting to share the Gospel with the crowd here." She said, "Daddy, I think your way is much more effective."
My way isn't really even my way. It's the way you see modeled in Scripture. It's good news people sharing the good news of Jesus in a good news way.
You may be thinking, "Well, didn't Jesus preach to people on the street?" And, you'd be right. But he did it in a relational way. He provided healing for their bodies and food for the stomachs. And he shared hope with them in a loving and powerful way.
There are 25 million teenagers in the United States - how are we going to reach them all with the gospel? Join Greg Stier as he walks through the strategies and motivations we need to have to reach every last one
Where were you on April 20th, 1999 when you heard the news about the Columbine High School massacre?
Jesus was a youth leader. When Peter, Jesus and the rest of the disicples went into Capernaum only Peter and Jesus paid the temple tax (Matthew 17:24-27). If you cross-reference this passage with Exodus 30:14 it becomes clear that the temple tax was only for those 20 years old and older.
If I'm reading these passages correctly, Jesus was a youth leader, with only one adult sponsor (and one really rotten kid named Judas.)
But within the span of 3 1/2 years (about the time a typical teenager is in high school minus summer vacations) he turned those teenagers into teen leaders. After the ascension here's how the big dawg religious leaders of the day viewed them, "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." Acts 4:13.
These teen leaders went on .to take the Gospel to the ends of the world. Some even went on to write books that would be included in the canon of Scripture and be used of God to build the church on a firm theological foundation.