How do we best glorify God and serve kids in youth ministry?
I’m not sure there’s any way better than pursuing a pathway to spiritual growth and depth ourselves. Rather than spending our time curating style, we need to pursue substance. The former often-times become a great tool in the arsenal of the enemy. Get us side-tracked, and we become increasingly ineffective. The latter is the greatest gift we can give to our kids.
Are we, as youth workers, spending time in study?
I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately. If I can be honest, I think that our tribe might be regressing a bit, dumbing down, and maybe spending too much time on the wrong things. Oh, we’re well-intentioned for sure. But good intentions don’t always lead to good practices or ends. And even if you think I’m being too harsh, there’s not one of us (myself at the front of the line) who couldn’t be more diligent in the pursuit of personal spiritual growth and depth.
Earlier this week, I put together a seminar for youth workers that included a challenge to depth. When we teach, it has to be out of the depth we’ve cultivated in our own lives. We need to teach and preach out of our own passion. Giving someone else’s talk because we haven’t had or taken the time to prepare. . . well. . . in the long run it doesn’t serve us or our kids well. Those who have gone before us would say the same thing. I ran across these three quotes from three of our living ministry forefathers. . .
J.I. Packer on the condition of the church. . . and maybe youth ministry: “The church in America is 1,000 miles wide and a 1/2″ deep.”
Billy Graham on ministry hindsight: “I have preached too much and studied too little.”
Tim Keller on preaching, teaching, and speaking: “If you want to preach to the heart, you must preach from the heart.”
Ponder this. Pray through it. It’s all about the legacy that we will instill in and leave to our kids.
And if you have time, give an hour to nurturing yourself by listening to this little talk by Tim Keller. . .
3 thoughts on “Youth Workers. . . Going Deep?. . .”
Thank you for this exhortation and encouragement, Walt. It is much needed as I spend far too much time planning and scheming, and not enough time listening and studying.
Thanks for the feedback Scott! Do you think we need to be pushing on this with more intensity in our youth ministry world?
I think that you’re right. I wonder if one of the causes is that many churches are hiring a youth/something pastor. When you’re juggling leading worship (for example) with trying to cultivate depth in yourself, while also trying to prepare meaningful studies- you get the idea. Dual pastors have little margin. By sacrificing margin, we’ve sacrificed depth.