Ok, so it sounds elementary to be adding this to the things that any new youth worker should be doing on a regular basis but I do believe that it’s one of those things, just like prayer, that gets pushed to the back burner of your daily schedule. I know for myself this is true. Bible reading and devotions seem to go in waves.
Let’s talk about that…
Some of the latest statistics I’ve heard is that 90% of the people sitting in your church pews no longer do family devotions any more. We live in a society that requires us to be on the move 24/7 – the idea of not being busy is a foreign concept to most people. As a youth worker, being busy is a reality of life. Perhaps it’s not always physically busy but it’s emotional busy. It’s hard to turn off the concerns of one of your youth who told you she was pregnant and her parents don’t know, or that a young man in your group is secretly doing Meth, or a parent coming to your office in tears about their son/daughter’s spiritual life. This is the reality of a youth worker that some people don’t understand. It’s heavy and it can weigh you down! There is no ‘on’ or ‘off’ switch available and eventually you are going to run dry.
So naturally your personal devotions would slowly sink to the bottom of your to-do list. Others must come first, after all that is what the church expects. It’s because of the things mentioned in the previous chapter, and a whole lot more, that The Text should remain open and digested on a regular basis. God desires us to hunger for His word!
In contrast to the above mentioned aspects to Youth Ministry, another aspect is that you can attend great conferences and concerts to network, hear phenomenal speakers address the latest youth trends, hang out with your fellow youth works and hear some of the latest bands.
At the last few conventions I attended, the band Starfield led us in worship. Needless to say, I have come to enjoy their music. There is one line in one song that constantly runs through my mind. It states this:
What a thought. Think about that for a minute. Picture it in your mind’s eye to grasp the concept. You holding the hand of the one that holds the world – God’s hand!
How does that image look to you? Do you really desire God’s hand to hold yours, to be in communion with God? The previous article on Prayer is one key way but opening God’s love letter to you, basking in it goodness, digesting it’s grace and love and reflecting that to your youth is one more way to be in constant communion with God.
When I think of that wonderful line, I often think of my kids when we go for a walk through the wood. My son Aiden, 4 years old, loves to explore and pick up rocks, sticks garbage (much to his mother’s dislike), leaves etc. Before long his hands, and pockets, are full of stuff which, in his eyes, are valuable. These are his treasures. These are the things that are occupying his mind and the things that he needs to take home and show his mom, big sister and little brother.
Here’s the thing. When Aiden’s hands are full of his treasures I will ask him if he wants to hold daddy’s hand. He has a decision to make and in his little mind he needs to make a choice. You see, holding daddy’s hand means he has to let go of some things – some of his treasures, some of the things that are keeping him so busy. He just can’t hold my hand and hold the same amount of stuff at the same time – just not possible. His hands are just not big enough. He wishes they were, he sometimes thinks they are, but they’re not.
So after a few seconds, Aiden reaches up and gives me his hand. Two things happen at this moment in time:
First Aiden will look at his stuff and decide what needs to be saved and what can go. He takes stock of his most prized items and hands them over to me. He now realized that dad’s hands are bigger and I can hold some of the stuff he is holding. I gladly take them and hold on to them with joy! I treasure them because I know my son treasures them.
Secondly he has to let some stuff in his hands falls to the ground one by one. For my son, I am sure that as he watches his stuff fall to the ground, it’s in slow motion. Before his stuff falls to the ground, he has already taken hold of my hand, looked up and given me a smile that warms any fathers heart. Aiden never looked back.
“I want to hold the hand that holds the world.” Really? Then it’s time to make it a priority in your day-to-day schedule. Drop some of the stuff that you deem as valuable in your schedule, or give the important items to your Father to hold, and reach out and open God’s Word for your life today! There is nothing more important or pressing on your schedule than for you to dig deep into the well that will never run try – you can’t run on empty!
Take some time every morning, close your office door, sit quietly in your home, and read the Bible. The things you drop might seem important now but they pale in comparison to the things you will learn from reading your Bible. It’s a matter of integrity, friends. We challenge our youth to read and pray, how much more should we doing it.
So begin today, it’s never too late to drop your ‘stuff’ and begin reading your Bible on a regular basis. Yes, the regularity of your Bible reading may go in waves but don’t give up. Keep persevering and watch God move.
If you struggle in this area and would like to have a Scripture Reading Accountability partner, I would love to be there for you and to support you in reading Scripture. Call or email me to discuss how we can make this work for you.
God’s blessings to you as you begin this phase of ministry into your life which in turn will bless the youth you are called to minister too.