Over the next few weeks we’re going to look at 4 words that will hopefully challenge and encourage us as we minister to teens:
Walk – Make sure your walk is consistent with God.
I am a firm believer that in student ministry, adults are walking through life with students. But more than walking with, we are working with their parents in guiding them through life. Some journeys in life are smooth and uneventful, others are scattered with obstacles, bumps, detours, and breakdowns. Youth Workers are there to help students navigate all of those hindrances as they continue the race the Father has set before them.
To be completely honest, I want to share two fears (of many) in student ministry (besides co-ed lock-ins): one is that we get so caught up in leading students that we lose track of where we are on our spiritual walk. It’s the whole, “removing a speck from someone’s eye with a plank in our own” scenario. When we really get involved in ministry, in any aspect, an inadvertent temptation is to unknowingly put our spiritual health on the backburner. I’ve seen countless folks spend so much time investing in the health of others that they forget to go to God for themselves.
The most important thing in the ministry God has you doing is your relationship with the Father. You need your spiritual nourishment. An ER doctor or nurse can go wide open without food or rest for a 12 hour shift, maybe two, but eventually they crash. Eventually, they need to be fed and recharged. The same goes for those serving others for the Lord. Be intentional to find ways to be challenged in the Word and to be encouraged by the Lord, personally… outside of preparing lessons to teach students.
Another fear I have is that as we are guiding students through life and helping them pursue Jesus that we begin to take the place of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, with the best of intentions, folks can be guiding students and we’re talking over the Holy Spirit. Instead of students becoming dependent on our wisdom and direction, let’s show them the way to the altar. I have to work very hard to not always give my opinion when a kid is in a situation. (You all know I am very opinionated). Instead, I try to encourage them to ask God for direction. I accept that I often times fail at this, but I so want students to be able to graduate and not only know how to seek God’s face, but to recognize His voice.
All of this to say: I’m praying that over the next few weeks God encourages you, spiritually feeds and strengthens you, and puts a newfound burden in your soul for your walk with Him. I also am praying that I (and we) don’t replace the voice of the Holy Spirit in the spiritual walk of a student. May we lead them to Him, not to ourselves.