“Do your best to present yourself to God as an approved workman, who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
Today's youth ministry is a buffet of youth ministry attributes. It takes leaders with patient and loving attitudes, as well as, care, multitasking, love and time. Which makes it easy to get discouraged, overwhelmed and distracted. However, it becomes less intimidating when we think of youth ministry in terms of movement and direction. Movement: getting them started or involved. Direction: pointing them in the right direction. Since many of our youth ministry's year can be divided into 2 stages, this model works well. The first half of the year can be identified as Movement, which consist of getting the youth started or involved. Initially this is more difficult because to start moving is harder than to keep moving. It is a time to build relational bridges. Movement consists of 4 ingredients: Prayer, Relational Connections, Consistency & Perspective. They are defined as such:
- Prayer: Wisdom, Encourage conversations, See God’s Plan & Create spiritual Hunger
- Relational Connections: Encouraging and inviting youth
- Consistency: Do we make connections on a regular basis
- Perspective: Are we getting to understand their situations…..where they are coming from?
- Each Student is trying to communicate where he/she is coming from and looking for acceptance.
The 2nd half of the year can be identified as Direction. Now you’re at the stage where you are pointing them in the right direction; Away from bad time usage, bad influences, destructive behaviors & towards God-honoring influences. Pointing them in the right direction means EXPOSURE. Exposure to Jesus, Committed Leaders, Church Family, Christian Adults & Students and Missions. They are defined as such:
- Jesus: Worship, Scripture , Prayer & Service
- Leaders: Role modeling (living letters), difference God makes in our lives, how He is real to us.
- Church Family: How they fit in to the whole picture; participating in worship, speaking, children’s ministries, service to Seniors, sharing technology competence.
- Christian Adults/Students: The message that they are not alone
- Missions: Serving their communities outside of the church bubble.
So, what practical ways can youth leaders contribute to the character building in the Direction Stage and through direct exposure?
- Develop an interest to be like Jesus
- Promoting Life Transformation: daily renewal nourishing spiritual tool to discern right from wrong
- Give them the ability to feed themselves; teaching them responsibility for spiritual growth
- Involvement in Local Church ministry; that their contributions have value
- A Mission Passion: Evangelistic convictions and a heart of service for others.
Here are a few, but feel free to add a few of your own ideas and thoughts….