My Book-I Wish

Alright, I have an idea for a book, and as soon as I figure out the
answer to this question I am going to write it. I feel like if I could
provide an answer for this one question then I would be doing a huge
service to youth pastors everywhere and I could sell as many books as
Rick Warren. The question is a simple one, and if I could just find the
answer I think I could make millions.

The question is “How do you convince students to make God a priority.”

As
I have been a youth minister there is nothing that I have noticed more
than this simple truth. God is important as long as there isn’t
something better to do with all of my friends. When there is something
better to do, or some guy to see, or some girl to hang out with then
God had better take a back seat. If I could come up with a magic
formula for teaching students that God should be not just your top
priority, but all of your priorities, and if you would run to Him first
all of the hurts in your life would be filled then I think I could
write a book that would sell million.

Here is tonight’s
rendition of the same old song. We, like a good youth group, have a
party every year on New Year’s Eve. As the party kicks off I begin to
look around the room for my juniors and seniors, for those people who I
hold up as leaders and who I have pulled aside on more than one
occasion and given responsibility.

None of them are there.

 After
a few moments a few of them trickle in and then trickle back out. They
all had things that were more important than being with at the church.
So here I am again with a room full of underclassmen having a good
time, but trying to figure out how I ended up back at square one when
it comes to building up a youth ministry. I mean these are growing
pains we should have already dealt with. Suddenly I have a group of
young youth again, and they are great, but I really need some older
leadership setting the example and reaching out to the younger guys.

But my leaders have better things to do.

So
here I am again asking the question, “how do you convince students that
God is important and that church is a priority?” Maybe that is the
problem. Maybe I haven’t done a good job showing how important it is
that the leaders are at church, not just on Wednesday nights, but at
the fun stuff too. What they don’t realize is they are preaching to the
younger youth and what they are saying is “This church thing is fun and
all if you don’t drive, but as soon as you get your licence there are
better things to do.” They are also saying, “We don’t really like
hanging out with you guys.”

I guarantee if I asked them that none
of my leaders would think that was true, even though I have told them
that more than once, but their actions are screaming at the rest of us
that we aren’t as important as their friends are.

I am so sick
of this. I am sick and tired of leaders who aren’t there! How can I
entrust them with important roles in our youth ministry when they don’t
even think that what we are doing is important enough to attend!

I
am just tired of having this same old argument. I am done with people
who are only halfway committed. There is a wold of people who are dying
to know that God loves them. There are hundreds of students in this
town who need to know the truth about Jesus and we are on a mission to
take that truth to them. I don’t need half-hearted people. I need
people who are willing to sell out to God and give him all that they
are. I am looking for students who are serious about changing the
world. It may only be one or two, but I am done trying to convince
people who give God lip service to really live it. I will take the one
or two people who really want God in their lives making a difference
and we will reach out to those who are really hurting in this world.

So
how do you convince students make God a priority? I don’t know, but I
am committed to finding students who are already making God a priority
and we are going out into the world to reach those who are dying. The
rest of them can join us if they want, but I am tired of asking people
to lead who aren’t willing to follow God.  

2 thoughts on “My Book-I Wish

  • January 3, 2006 at 6:49 PM
    Permalink

    Hi Shane,
    I just finished reading your post about how do we convince kids that God is a priority…I think that so often when I find myself looking for answers like that, usually I’m asking the wrong questions. Why is it that showing up at a Youth Group NYE party is your guage to know that the kids prioritize God? I know it would be an easy way to quantify kids’ faith and priorities, but the thing is, our job is to prepare kids not only for discipleship in the Church but in the world- not every kid will be called to spend his life in the church basement serving his younger peers, or to ministry to youth at all- but they may be out in the world choosing to say a prayer at midnight on NYE instead of drinking or making out or… whatever… like the kids around them may be doing. Maybe they’re having a party of their own so their peers will be in a safe environment. Maybe they were meant to be in a particular OTHER place, to do God’s work there… The point is, Youth Group is not God. Choosing against it is NOT choosing against God. You are not the only source of God for your kids. Isn’t that good news? Now, instead of mourning your loss of kids, celebrate the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives, and your honor to witness that. And celebrate the kids who ARE walking in your door on NYE.

    Reply
  • January 3, 2006 at 9:34 PM
    Permalink

    Thanks for your kind words. I really do wish I could celebrate my youth taking God to their friends. That is something that I have really been hoping for, but I am pretty sure that wasn’t the case.
    I would never argue that church attendance is the best guage of someone’s relationship with Christ. I would say, that students who are leaders in our youth ministry need to be at our functions, not because it helps them, but because they help others.
    One of the biggest things I have learned is that church isn’t about what we can get, but what we can give, and my hearts desire is to see students realizing that.
    Taking Christ to the world is the goal, and it is what we are striving to do, but when students don’t even see the need to reach out to people in their own church how can we help them reach out to people in the community.
    I’m not saying that I have all of the answers. I am only saying that I wish I could help students see that God isn’t interested in just being their top priority, he wants to be all of their priorities. I am not saying that church attendance is the only thing that matters, but I am saying that I wish students would at least consider God in their choices. If I honestly believed that one student looked at what we were doing, and at their own plans and prayed about it and made a conscious choice to follow God somewhere else I would be overjoyed. Heck, if I thought any of the adults in my church looked at life that way I would be overjoyed. I am not jonesing for people just to be at our event. We had fun at our party. I am saying that I want to help students to see that God should be involved in every aspect of their lives.
    I also think it is important for those students who have stepped into leadership positions to support what goes on at the church, not because it brings them closer to God, but because they have a ministry to the other people who are coming in. I am estatic about the people who were at our NYE thing. I only wish there had been some students there to minister to them along with me.

    Reply

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