What if God wants you to lead a small Youth Ministry?

33 Comments

  1. Great thought-provoking article Ben! Youth ministry is not a great "job," but remembering its about changing lives through the power of Christ is vital to making it a "ministry." Thanks for the reminder.
  2. Great thought-provoking article Ben! Youth ministry is not a great "job," but remembering its about changing lives through the power of Christ is vital to making it a "ministry." Thanks for the reminder.
  3. Great thought-provoking article Ben! Youth ministry is not a great "job," but remembering its about changing lives through the power of Christ is vital to making it a "ministry." Thanks for the reminder.
  4. This is a great question and one that I have asked myself before. I have realized that I am pretty sure God would never ask me this question, and thankfully because I think if God told me he would impact only one person through me I couldn't do youth ministry knowing that all my work would be in vain, and instead I would allow God to lead me to that one person. A bigger question that I wrestle with ties into this question. If I were the only person on earth would God still have saved me from my sin by sending his son to die on a cross? A typical response would be yes. We sing about it in songs, it's preached, it's mixed in with our teaching. While I believe that each member of the body of Christ grows individually they ultimately do not do this in isolation. Both questions I believe reflect the concept of individualism that is prevalent within westernized culture. I have attempted to try and weed these ideas of it just being about the individual from my teaching in order not to promote individualism. Throughout the bible, God's mission of redemption has never been about the "one", but it has always been about the "all".
    • I totally get that and understand what your saying, but what about the parables in Luke 15, specifically the lost sheep and how the good shepherd leaves the 99 to go after the 1. I've been wrestling with it more not because I think God is saying I will only impact one, but if I was going to only impact one, and I didn't know who it was, how would I spend my time differently, how would I change our youth calendar and the sermons, all of that.
      • Even in the parable of the lost sheep the shepherd is initially having an impact on a community he just leaves in order to bring one back into the impacted community. It's a parable giving value to the people thought not to have value by the religious elite, that's why I think we see it as a response to the Pharisee's mutterings. One would have to be careful arranging a youth ministry, or any ministry for that matter, around the idea of just impacting one. On one hand I believe it would force one to evaluate and discern God's spirit on everything you do because you never know when that one person might cross your path, so everything would have to be done as if impacting everyone. On the other hand I think it could promote the idea of it being "all about me" and do a disservice to a gospel that teaches that God works through groups to impact his kingdom and not just individuals
  5. This is a great question and one that I have asked myself before. I have realized that I am pretty sure God would never ask me this question, and thankfully because I think if God told me he would impact only one person through me I couldn't do youth ministry knowing that all my work would be in vain, and instead I would allow God to lead me to that one person. A bigger question that I wrestle with ties into this question. If I were the only person on earth would God still have saved me from my sin by sending his son to die on a cross? A typical response would be yes. We sing about it in songs, it's preached, it's mixed in with our teaching. While I believe that each member of the body of Christ grows individually they ultimately do not do this in isolation. Both questions I believe reflect the concept of individualism that is prevalent within westernized culture. I have attempted to try and weed these ideas of it just being about the individual from my teaching in order not to promote individualism. Throughout the bible, God's mission of redemption has never been about the "one", but it has always been about the "all".
    • I totally get that and understand what your saying, but what about the parables in Luke 15, specifically the lost sheep and how the good shepherd leaves the 99 to go after the 1. I've been wrestling with it more not because I think God is saying I will only impact one, but if I was going to only impact one, and I didn't know who it was, how would I spend my time differently, how would I change our youth calendar and the sermons, all of that.
      • Even in the parable of the lost sheep the shepherd is initially having an impact on a community he just leaves in order to bring one back into the impacted community. It's a parable giving value to the people thought not to have value by the religious elite, that's why I think we see it as a response to the Pharisee's mutterings. One would have to be careful arranging a youth ministry, or any ministry for that matter, around the idea of just impacting one. On one hand I believe it would force one to evaluate and discern God's spirit on everything you do because you never know when that one person might cross your path, so everything would have to be done as if impacting everyone. On the other hand I think it could promote the idea of it being "all about me" and do a disservice to a gospel that teaches that God works through groups to impact his kingdom and not just individuals
  6. I think this happens more than we think. 1. What if God calls you to remain in a declining farm town to minister to the handful of teenagers who remain? You'll never have a large youth group. 2. What if God calls you to reach the kids who are too shy and socially awkward to make many friends? They don't even have "friends" to invite to church! You'll never have a large youth group. It goes on and on. This post is spot on and I'd love to see some more conversation around it in youth ministry all over.
    • agreed, Aaron. I think we often times believe there is some special recipe for growing a Youth Ministry, but we go around also saying "Only the Holy Spirit really grows our ministry." Even more than that, I wonder about many of the students I minister to. What if you had 100 students in your youth group, but you were only going to make a real, lasting impact in just 1?
  7. I think this happens more than we think. 1. What if God calls you to remain in a declining farm town to minister to the handful of teenagers who remain? You'll never have a large youth group. 2. What if God calls you to reach the kids who are too shy and socially awkward to make many friends? They don't even have "friends" to invite to church! You'll never have a large youth group. It goes on and on. This post is spot on and I'd love to see some more conversation around it in youth ministry all over.
    • agreed, Aaron. I think we often times believe there is some special recipe for growing a Youth Ministry, but we go around also saying "Only the Holy Spirit really grows our ministry." Even more than that, I wonder about many of the students I minister to. What if you had 100 students in your youth group, but you were only going to make a real, lasting impact in just 1?
  8. I think sometimes what we do is we place worldly success onto a spiritual job. We base our success on the number of kids we have or the size of an event. I think these are good indicators to look at but God is different. God does not call us to be successful (in the worlds eyes), He calls us to be faithful. That could be ministering to 100 kids or 2. It does not matter if God is calling you to it.
  9. I think sometimes what we do is we place worldly success onto a spiritual job. We base our success on the number of kids we have or the size of an event. I think these are good indicators to look at but God is different. God does not call us to be successful (in the worlds eyes), He calls us to be faithful. That could be ministering to 100 kids or 2. It does not matter if God is calling you to it.
  10. My answer is a resounding yes! Think about missionaries. Some of them spend years and only see a couple of converts. Wouldn't you say God had reason to send them there, even if it was to save only a few. All of heaven rejoices when the one comes to know Christ! Also, you may never know the people that the one disciple ends up impacting and discipling. God may use you to begin the chain of a great many people coming to know the Lord. Even further, as you are ministering to students, you are also equipping your adult leaders to serve well, teach faithfully, and minister to other students. We will never know the impact, until we get to heaven, that is. But I say if I spent two or three years at a church and personally only saw two or three students' lives changed, I'm ok with that. There are so many factors that are involved that we have no control over. Their hearts, the church's situation, timing, sowing seeds, different seasons. We just have to trust in the Lord and know that He who begins a good work in all of us will carry it unto completion (Phil 1:6), whether He uses us or someone else.
  11. My answer is a resounding yes! Think about missionaries. Some of them spend years and only see a couple of converts. Wouldn't you say God had reason to send them there, even if it was to save only a few. All of heaven rejoices when the one comes to know Christ! Also, you may never know the people that the one disciple ends up impacting and discipling. God may use you to begin the chain of a great many people coming to know the Lord. Even further, as you are ministering to students, you are also equipping your adult leaders to serve well, teach faithfully, and minister to other students. We will never know the impact, until we get to heaven, that is. But I say if I spent two or three years at a church and personally only saw two or three students' lives changed, I'm ok with that. There are so many factors that are involved that we have no control over. Their hearts, the church's situation, timing, sowing seeds, different seasons. We just have to trust in the Lord and know that He who begins a good work in all of us will carry it unto completion (Phil 1:6), whether He uses us or someone else.
  12. I think the big question is a question of how faithful will we be to the Kingdom and our King even if there is a smaller group. I don't know if a "large youth group" is the staple expectation of God. Here lately i'm reminded of Jeremiah and his ministry that didn't really see much "fruit". The struggle I have is that i have to face the challenging question "will i preach the word of God to a room of 1 as passionately as i would in a room of 1,000?"
  13. I think the big question is a question of how faithful will we be to the Kingdom and our King even if there is a smaller group. I don't know if a "large youth group" is the staple expectation of God. Here lately i'm reminded of Jeremiah and his ministry that didn't really see much "fruit". The struggle I have is that i have to face the challenging question "will i preach the word of God to a room of 1 as passionately as i would in a room of 1,000?"
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  20. If God told me I would only impact one student I would do Youth Ministry, just not as a full time youth pastor. I think that as a Youth Pastor my job is to equip leaders to reach the one, more than it is to reach the one by myself. I myself have now been in both large and small settings and in the end both are youth ministry. My approach may look different but the purpose is still the same.
  21. If God told me I would only impact one student I would do Youth Ministry, just not as a full time youth pastor. I think that as a Youth Pastor my job is to equip leaders to reach the one, more than it is to reach the one by myself. I myself have now been in both large and small settings and in the end both are youth ministry. My approach may look different but the purpose is still the same.
  22. I really feel that we put the "successful" Youth Ministry tag on the groups that have large numbers. I was caught up in that train of though early on in my ministry. We even think if we can get that ultimate church staff position at a large church then we must be in God's will. I have had groups in the teens and in the hundreds. Honestly I prefer a smaller group (ministry). It is easier to disciple and build relationships. That's not to say we do not go after all the students because we do. The way I see it Jesus only had 12 in His group :) I agree with your thought on youth groups and youth ministries. I prefer Youth Ministry.
  23. I really feel that we put the "successful" Youth Ministry tag on the groups that have large numbers. I was caught up in that train of though early on in my ministry. We even think if we can get that ultimate church staff position at a large church then we must be in God's will. I have had groups in the teens and in the hundreds. Honestly I prefer a smaller group (ministry). It is easier to disciple and build relationships. That's not to say we do not go after all the students because we do. The way I see it Jesus only had 12 in His group :) I agree with your thought on youth groups and youth ministries. I prefer Youth Ministry.
  24. We have a small youth group, but we never allow this to change the quality of ministry. Each teen deserves a positive youth group experience, but much more than that they deserve to be ministered to and discipled just as much as a big group. My ministry philosophy is relational and is heavily structured around one-on-one interaction with every student. Sure, I'd love to have a room full of teens every week, but if I can reach just one and see them become mature believers reaching others then it is still worth every minute :)
  25. We have a small youth group, but we never allow this to change the quality of ministry. Each teen deserves a positive youth group experience, but much more than that they deserve to be ministered to and discipled just as much as a big group. My ministry philosophy is relational and is heavily structured around one-on-one interaction with every student. Sure, I'd love to have a room full of teens every week, but if I can reach just one and see them become mature believers reaching others then it is still worth every minute :)
  26. This is actually how I live my ministry out. I have done youth mission trips, and had everyone bail except for one kid. Everyone told me to cancel reschedule whatever. I said no, this 1 student committed his time, and his time is valuable, I will pay the cost for one kid. That week changed this students life. I have many times had similar things happen where only 1 or 2 students would show up. I feel like the world is worth ministry for 1 person. That one person could be the next Billy Graham, or could've been the next Pen Teller had I not committed to him for God.
  27. This is actually how I live my ministry out. I have done youth mission trips, and had everyone bail except for one kid. Everyone told me to cancel reschedule whatever. I said no, this 1 student committed his time, and his time is valuable, I will pay the cost for one kid. That week changed this students life. I have many times had similar things happen where only 1 or 2 students would show up. I feel like the world is worth ministry for 1 person. That one person could be the next Billy Graham, or could've been the next Pen Teller had I not committed to him for God.

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