The Most Committed To Young People

I read the testimony of a pastor's kid and their personal experience of God as part of their journey to their own relationship with God. You can read the article here at YouthMinistry.com.

I was reminded that as youth leaders and youth pastors, we create environments and opportunities within our programming for kids to experience God, and some kids connect with God in those moments, and some do not. We can sometimes be disappointed when we don't see the response that we hoped for. In the testimony, the girl left the service and altar call. It was not that she was rejecting God, it was just that the experience at that moment was not what she needed. She needed something personal and private, something new and fresh, something unique.

God met her in the middle of that field, with no music to create atmosphere, with no flashing lights and no one praying with her.

I was reminded that while we may be called to serve young people and their families, and that calling involves bringing young people into a closer relationship with the God who loves them, we are not the most committed to these young people connecting with God. God is the most committed to seeing them connect with Him. He has given more for the relationship, He has invested more than we ever could, He has been active and involved longer than we have in their lives. We have the privilege of partnering with Him but sometimes the change or experience is not because of our efforts or program, it is simply because a loving God is reaching out to a young person and they are reaching out to Him. And that encounter can happen in the middle of field, in a bedroom, in a movie theatre, at a concert, at a grocery store or at our youth group.

Are youth groups and youth leaders a part of the picture? Totally. Don't stop serving God or young people by running relevant and effective ministries. Reaching out to, loving, discipling, developing, releasing young people.

Is your program or youth ministry the only way that young people encounter God? Absolutely not. God is bigger than us (thankfully) and he is working much harder than we are to bring every young person into relationship with him.

Two things that I want you to take away from this thought -

1. God is bigger than our programs
Don't limit God's interaction and influence in young people's lives to your programs, events and schedules. We want young people who are maturing in their faith and capable of living out their faith independently of youth group environments, and to do that we need to learn to give them some latitude, some freedom to seek and understand God beyond our programs. Letting them find God for themselves, because we won't be there to help them all the time.

2. God is bigger than our misses
Sometimes we miss the mark. Sometimes a young person slips through the cracks. Maybe we didn't connect with them, maybe they were EGRs (Extra Grace Required) and we didn't have the resources to care for them well enough, maybe life got difficult and their faith couldn't cope, maybe they chose to live a life the excluded God. Those moments are difficult but I encourage you to review what could have been done better, because if there are ways to improve then we should, but also entrust them to the hands of a loving God who is still committed to them and still at work to bring them into relationship.

 

It is a privilege to serve in youth ministry and I count it a privilege to serve youth leaders however I can. I hope this blog post helps you broaden your view of God, and helps you lean more into Him. He loves you, He loves the young people you serve, and He has the wisdom and resource for you in your current situation and season.

 

Photo by Ksenia Makagonova on Unsplash