When was the last time you were pushed?
A few months ago, a woman in my Church invited me to participate in a event with the school she counsels in. The event was Challenge Day. I knew nothing about this day. I wanted to find new ways to get into the school and this looked like a great opportunity. I showed up on wednesday morning and was quickly briefed and encouraged that the day was going to be a blurr, and it was!
The day was a mix of games and small group time. I honestly couldn’t believe how real the teenagers were. At the start of my small group we had to answer the question: if you really knew me ___________. The teens in my small group (they actually called them family) poured out their heart for the next 24 minutes. Every person had their chance and in each case they revealed some deep hurts. The Challenge Day was one of the most intense days I have ever been apart of. This day left me thinking about the effectiveness of youth ministry and how are reaching/meeting the needs of teenagers?
Here are a few thoughts:
Are we building community or are we building ego? I have heard the conversation lately about numbers in youth ministry. It is very sexy to say that I personally grew my youth ministry to ________. As youth pastors are we getting in the way, and are we passing down language to teens that they are only important if they show up. Teens long to be apart of a community that is real and vulnerable.
Do the teens you work with know the answer to this question: If you really knew me? This means opening up. There could be some deep stuff in there. They need to know you because you might be the only adult who ever takes the time to invest in them.
When you lead do you get out of the way? Last week one thing that stood out to me was the leaders of the Challenge Day were facilitators. They were always supporting the leaders constantly. I was personally thanked 10+ times. I asked myself do I thank my leaders that much? Are the leaders on my youth night my facilitators?
What did you think of my thoughts on youth ministry?