I don’t know the last time (if ever) anyone told you that it’s o.k. to be happy with your youth group numbers, but it’s o.k.. I’m happy with the number of kids in our youth ministry, right now, because that is who God has given us. They are fantastic kids on a journey with God. Yes, even the ones not practicing their faith the way I think they should. I am thankful for every kid who shows up. I haven’t always been like that. i used to commit the cardinal sin of say at the beginning of a meeting, “Where is everyone?” I had to stop doing that. To be ungrateful or unthankful for who is not there is to poke a finger in the eye of the students who are there.
Jesus had a set number of students. He had 12, 70, and a few more, but that was over a course of three years. In addition, he had a bunch bale on him ( John 6:60-70). Toward the end of Jesus’ ministry, He thanked His Heavenly Father for what He gave him, “I have revealed you[a] to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word” John 17:6
Are you ungrateful for what you do not have? Then beware the three dangers the road of ungratefulness leads us to.
1. We put the kids we do have on a guilt trip for what we don’t have
This is not to say we should nor exhort our kids to share the gospel or invite their friends to church, but, we can lose the ones we have if we think their only purpose is to build our youth ministry. We can only offer opportunities for kids to engage and if they come up short we know where they’re at spiritually and that should prompt us pray for them and help mature them where we can and where parents give us permission.
2. We can become users and abusers
If we become so numbers driven, we’ll start to use kids in ways they were not meant to be used. Challenging kids to step our of their comfort zones is one thing, making them join the drama team or some other team just to bolster the group is not fair to that kid. Let kids find their natural God-given talents and work your growth strategy around that or create a new one. Forcing kids into our man-made molds and models is spiritually unhealthy for them and for us.
3. We could become bitter when God does not “bless” our plan or outreach
We are real quick to blame stuff on God when it’s our fault or we may blame ourselves over and over again but neither of those is a healthy position to take. Maybe we come back from a conference with a new plan or idea and when it does not work, somehow it’s God’s fault, as if God owes us a large youth youth ministry. A + B does not equal C in youth ministry. There are many lives with many destinies in our group. God will bring to us who he bring to for His glory, not ours.
“But what if my job depends on my numbers?” Then do a gut check. Ask yourself
1. Am I doing everything I know how to do to reach kids for Christ?
2. Am I trying to learn or recruiting others who know more than me to help the youth ministry reach out?
If you are dong all you can do, relax and be thankful.
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