IN ALL ERNESTNESS


Quick question…
December 16, 2007, 4:51 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

I love teens, I love students, I love young people…I love building relationships with them, mentoring them, ministering to and with them.

I just have one quick question…Is it possible to be a youth minister and have a “successful” ministry without providing all of the bells and whistles; all of the frills and thrills?

It seems there is always the pressure to produce a bigger and better show than the guy down the street. We have to have this or that or the students may not want to come back. Where does this leave us and what does it do for the students themselves?

Is it possible to have a ministry that would be considered “successful” by just preaching the truth, mentoring students, teaching them God’s word and life principles? By building relationships with them and guiding them in the right direction. By incorporating them into ministry and giving them opportunities to serve others and showing them what it means to love God and love people?

I know the answer lies in balance but what I see more than not is a compromise to the end of the “best show in town”.

Share your thoughts if you are willing?

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4 Comments so far
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I am learning the same thing right now. “Is it possible… is it STILL possible to teach peace, etc” ? It’s a very good question, “is it possible in this day in age to teach truth without the bells and whistles to attract willing – listening ears?”

It’s definitely a struggle – but I believe it’s possible.

If Britney Spears can teach young teens how to be out of control by being a big shock in the media as an example, then I believe that anyone willing to get burned will be just as willing to seek out the cooling agent to make it all better when done with the sting. Does that make sense?

I feel that it’s our jobs as peacemakers to always stay strong and solid in example of stability, to the best of our ability. Always keep in mind that though we don’t feel we’re being watched or looked at- the reality is there is ALWAYS someone watching. It only takes ONE person to make a difference in the world. If we forget that, we let go of all good possibilities of progress in the world. We were never meant to be silent here on earth as we are ALL dependent on each other.

Thank you for your post. 🙂

Comment by Rebecca

Ernest, one of the hardest realizations I frequently am reminded of is that while I can make some inroads into a few students’ lives, perhaps helping shape them to want to be something bigger than the culture wants for them… Ultimately I know my influence counts as bout as much as a good Super Bowl commercial for the remainder. Without mom and dad trumpeting the song of redemption, a student’s life is sluggish at best. God will step in from time to time and move mountains no one expected, but overall the perpetual insanity of our Youth Culture continues to enslave our children.

What’s worse is that it is not an ‘outside’ influence that is degrading the importance of solid Biblical instruction. I have youth pastor friends that live and die by business-level motivation, return on investment outreach strategies, and the mentality of ‘the more the better.’ They focus on grabbing a student’s mind and lust in the first 15 seconds of interaction (afraid the kid will never come back if he is not handed an iPod or gift certificate to Best Buy). Now I love to give stuff away as a Youth Pastor. Not to draw the crowd but rather to extend some blessing to some less fortunate souls. But if we are adamant about impressing and pushing our bells and whistles (read drugs) then that does not support the success of a youth ministry as much as it proves the narcissism and selfishness of our materialistic culture.

God help us!

Comment by Robert C.

If you want to make a difference in young people’s lives, tell them the truth. Tell them the doubts you’ve had, tell them the good your faith has done for you and tell them how you think their faith can help them with specification. Bells and whistles may get them in the door and entertained, but it rarely makes the important stuff stick. For me personally, a great show, is just a great show. I’m in college and I know that a lot (not all) of the skeptics and believers want the truth, both sides. Telling them “God is great” and “Jesus saves” gets an eyeroll and turns them off. But seeing examples in life and answering the hard, very skeptical, sometimes angry questions, gets their attention.

This is a generation that in general has a lot of skepticsim about God. A lot of see the inequality and pain in the world and can’t fathom a God who looks at this, some have been pressured too hard by family to believe so it becomes a turn off and others believe in God very deeply, but don’t worship in the traditional ways because their church calls them a sinner, judges and never tells them that it’s okay to have questions.

My advice: advertise your ability to answer the hard question, your humanity and admit that you don’t have all the answers, but that you and God can help them get through the hard times

Comment by baptizedbyice

Thank you for your comments. All of you produce good points.

Rebecca-we definitely need to live our lives as credible examples to follow. Not only are others watching me, but I also have an 8 and 10 year old watching…

Robert-I believe you’re right. The home is the most important foundation. If we can reach the home then that everyday influence helps the stability of the student.

Ice-It’s always great to see through the eyes of others. Great perspective. Great advice. I have always tried to make myself available for the hard questions and if I didn’t have the answer to help lead the student to find the answer. It is also those students who I have been blessed to mkae the biggest impact. We all want and need “real” and true.

Comment by ernestparker




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