This is part two in the series 9 Dynamic Ways To Revive Your Youth Ministry, you can start here to catch up
In the aftermath of the Parkland, Fl. shooting, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are making their voices heard. They’re planning on marching on Washington and are making powerful speeches to powerful people.
Regardless of your stance on gun control, these kids have suffered loss and they are pissed off at those who do nothing. In their mind (and most Americans) it is unimaginable that 17 of their friends can die, and there is still resistance to changing gun laws, but they are taking that energy, that sadness, that love, and that passion and putting it to work. I applaud them.
As youth workers, we may ask, “how come our kids are not this passionate about the gospel” That’s an unfair comparison. These kids are responding to a tragedy that changed the face of their schools and community. They have been personally impacted by this and feel the loss very deeply. They are not unlike the prophets of old who saw the injustices of Israel and cried out with passionate voices to repent, turn away return to God.
As leaders, we need to find out what our kids are passionate about and find a way for them to release that passion. What makes them angry? What makes them sad? We need undergird their passions and help infuse it into our ministries.
If one of our kids were outspoken against abortion, we should tap that energy and give that kid a platform, money, time, whatever they need to make a difference. I am not saying we allow one issue to take over our group, but there needs to be time to let kids speak out on what is important to them.
Do you know what is not important to them? Another sermon, another meeting, or another game night. The tide has shifted from meetings to movements. If we’re still trying to plan good meetings, we are falling behind and our kids are over it.
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As leaders we need to decide what we’re passionate about. Youth workers are paid to be passionate about Jesus and their youth group. We are judged on their size and their conversion rate. Many churches don’t care about the latter as long as the former is present.
We are the church, and as leaders of young people, we ought to live out our passions in front of them. I speak about my passion for those who are bullied, for those who are marginalized, for kids who do not fit our outdated church model. They know I am passionate about people finding the Lord because eternity can sneak up on us and time for some is short. I ask them to share my passion, and the passion of Jesus for a lost world.
Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks. – Yo-Yo Ma
If we want our students to live out their passion, we need to create a path for them to do so. If want our students to become passionate, they need to see me passionate and I need to invite them into it and experience it for themselves. This is why I have a heart to take kids on missions trips. I want their world to expand. I want them to see how God is moving in other countries and how God can move through them when they are in uncomfortable surroundings.
Kids are not passionate about a meeting where they sit and listen for 30 minutes about what they should do and how they should live, They want to do the stuff Jesus did and it’s our job to put them in a position to do it.
Sermons won’t do it, meetings won’t do it, and good theology alone won’t grow your youth ministry, only passionate hearts in love with Jesus will do that.
How are you helping kids find that passion and connect it to the gospel?
What ways are you creating ways for kids to develop and release that passion?
If you’re wanting to tap into your passion, and the passion of your students, consider picking up my book, The Disciple Project.
Part Three: A Clear And Compelling Vision