OK lets be real… If you read last weeks post about relationships, you may have thought “Wow! That Youth Pastor they have over there at 6:8 is quite the serious guy.” Well see heres the things… While I plan on talking about things that are real and close to home for a lot of us. I have to stick to what I am. And what I am, is indeed a Youth Pastor. So without further a due, I shall begin this post (setting the pace for the other posts to come, every Thursday) with much more of my personality and pizzazz.
One thing you have to know about me is that I am not a typical writer. I basically talk out loud and write down how it sounds coming out. Which, for a guy like me, is the only way that my posts will sound genuine and sincere. If I try to write a sophisticated post, with big words, and dynamic inflections (by utilizing our wonderful english language and the dots and squiggles that help us do that), it will sound like Shakespeare’s ghost is trying to learn how play the bagpipes. I’ll try and sound fancy, with thine fingers that our Heavenly Father hath blessed me with. But it will only come out really loud and out of tune, because it is not how God has made me. It would also make you want to punch a guy in a kilt, so I am not going to write like that. Now that we have that cleared up, I want to catch you up with what has been going on in our Youth Ministry.
When I first came to 6:8 in August of last year I felt as though God was opening up these two HUGE french doors and allowing me to walk through and experience what Youth Ministry is all about. While this was true in more ways then one. I knew that God was going to be showing me a lot about Himself, and even more about myself. I guess I thought God would wait a few years before He really started tackling some of the things about me that needed to be refined. I mean, come on right? It would only make sense to allow a guy who has dreamed of being a Youth Pastor since grade school to just have some fun and to go about his business with some ignorance… Right? NOPE! Apparently God really wants people to serve with good intentions and with glad hearts. He also wants to make sure that they are prepared and have a solid foundation for when he brings more people to the group. I mean HOW DARE HE!
My first few months were pretty rough. The group that I had been leading and working with for the past three years decided to not come with me over to 6:8. This stung pretty bad. I wanted our new students and current students to bond and get to know each other, but God had a different plan. He showed me that youth do things, only if, they are convenient. If it is not convenient then they tend not to go outside of the their comfort zones. They are not about that life. So right away God was telling me to focus on the students that were in front of me. Not to focus solely on the kids that “once were”.
We started growing immediately! God was bring kids from all over to come and check out what we were doing as a youth group. We were adding to our number daily, until I got in the way. I was getting so excited about the possibility of growth that I began to make the youth group a place for growth. Not a place for relationships. This was key for me to learn now, and not later when we were more established. You see, the biggest reason why Youth Ministry exists is to help students build a relationship with God. We try and do this by creating an atmosphere where youth can find a sense of belonging and connection. Churches with a lot of resources do it by holding amazing events and having a really fun culture. Churches with not as many resources, tend to focus on relationships at the core of who they are. After God smacked me back into place. The growth started happening again. We have been on a healthy growth track for about 6 months now. When I started we had about 7 students. We now look forward to having close to 25-30 students every week!
Our goal with “Current” (This is the name of our Youth Ministry), is to stay current with culture while fighting against the current of the world. So we focus on relationships. Relationships is the best way to combat the worlds temptations. We also focus on teaching the word and helping make the connection for students who need to know Jesus. So far, we have had four kids come to Christ and two more baptized… And we are still in our first year! We are not setting out to have a ton of pizzazz in our ministry. I believe that will come. But it won’t mean anything if we do not have relationships leading the charge. I am nothing but confident that God is going to doing something amazing through this group of students. We are ALL just getting started. So please pray for this ministry. I am not going to be the guy who builds an incredible ministry and is used as a template for future generations to come. If I have any kind of impact in the Youth Ministry world, it is going to be because God is leading it and I am just along for the ride.