If you are a regular reader here, welcome back. Today I am offering a brief reminder to my fellow Pentecostal youth worker friends of why they should not back away from our faith distinctive. If you are a guest, welcome! I think you can still get something from this article in regards to how you can differentiate who you and what your youth group is like amongst al the other youth groups in your area. Enjoy!
Ed Setzer wrote an excellent article a while back called Why Do These Pentecostals Keep Growing? and it is an excellent reminder to pentecostal youth workers to stay the course or get back on track concerning how we live out our faith and conduct our youth meetings. If you have not read the article I encourage you to do so. I am paraphrasing a few of his points and adding a few of my own thoughts.
It’s o.k. if not everyone gets us
We Pentecostals have never been the “seeker sensitive” type. We love people but we are who we are and we do not have to change our doctrine or style to reach more kids. On the day of Pentecost 3,00 were added to the church as God directed and God will add to our group if we continue to be authentic in message and practice (yes, praying for the baptism of the Holy Spirit for kids on Wednesday night is o.k.)
Ed Setzer said,
The end result—it’s harder to be a nominal Pentecostal—the beliefs of the movement tend to weed out nominalism
And he’s right. Our church pulls no punches when it comes to who we are and at times I think, “Are we too Pentecostal?” or “If we keep this up we’re going to lose people” and I have resolved that that is o.k.. Our style is not for everyone. Let’s not mourn that fact but celebrate who we are let those whom God calls join us. We have to be who we are and in that honesty is our strength.
Yes, there are 10 churches around us but they are not us
These sounds like elitism but it’s not because any church can say the same thing. Being Pentecostal is a distinctive. It differentiates us, good or bad, from every church around us. Why would we want to be like very other church? Why would any church want to be like any other church? Catholics do not change, for anyone. They believe in confession, the saints, and communion. That is there distinctive and they are not changing this to reach more people. They do not down-play any of their beliefs in order to get more congregants. They say, with pride, “We’re THE church, come and join us.”
We believe in and practice a supernatural lifestyle and if want to see our youth ministries grow, we should quit trying to hide or cover up our distinctive in order to be more like everyone else. Remember, if what other youth groups are doing are causing their stagnation, why would we want to be more like them?
Put it our there and see what heppens
If you are a Pentecostal youth worker you know why the Holy Spirit was given, to give us power to be witnesses. If this is who we are, let’s put it our there, be up front and honest from the get go. Let’s let the what we believe become a part of the way we reach out to students rather than being an “us too” youth ministry.
It’s quite possible that a student is sitting in our youth ministry and, if we are trying to be like everyone else, they may be saying, “Is this all there is?”. And they would have every right to do so and leave our youth group disappointed. They may also be saying down deep, “I want more of you God’ and we have the unique privilege of saying “Not only can you have more but we are going to create the space and opportunity for you to receive more.”
It’s o.k. if we don’t get to preach because “the Sprit moves”.
It’s o.k. to have an extended “altar time”
It’s o.k to ask if any one wants to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit
It’s o.k. to dance, shout, and cause a mini Pentecostal riot during worship.
It’s o.k to speak in tongues publicly and encourage your kids to do so as well
It’s o.k. to “wait on the Holy Spirit” and see if the gifts of God manifest
Let’s remember who we are and who God called us to be. If we’ll stay true and not try to be like everyone else (this is why Israel wanted a king), we’ll see our youth ministries not only grow but produce fruit.
If you are a Pentecostal youth worker, do you believe your youth meetings reflect your beliefs when it comes to the power of the Holy Spirit?
What can you do personally to re-energize or revitalize your own faith?
How can you create space in your youth meetings to allow the Holy Spirit to and kids to interact?