We are continuing our series on youth ministry. These is not a how-to manual on doing ministry well. They are just little nuggets of wisdom that I’ve picked up along the way. If you missed part one, it was about loving your students well, and you can find it here. Now on to part two.
Youth Ministry Nugget #4: Teach the Bible.
Now again, we are living in the obvious, but I just can’t skip. Yes, I know you know this. But I also know when I was a youth minister, I spent a vast majority of my time doing something besides teaching my kids the Bible. This needs to be the focus of our ministry for a number of reasons, but to me the main one is this: The Word of God can change the lives of students.
That IS what we’re trying to do. And this is the way that happens. Not through games, or songs, or videos. The Word of God brings life. All the other things we do should be enabling their connection to the Word. I see teachers go to school for however long they choose to, in order to teach basic concepts to students, to understand how a specific child learns and help them. Youth ministers learn how to do all these other things, and then we throw the Bible out there and hope that it sticks. Now I’m not saying you’re a bad preacher. That’s not it at all. I have no idea. I just think the Bible has to be a huge part of youth ministry.
Youth Ministry Nugget #5: Trust in the Gospel.
We try so often to spice it up. To make it attractive. It’s not. The gospel is a stumbling block. A life preserver is only beautiful to someone who realizes they are drowning.
We don’t need to make the gospel something it’s not. We need to trust that in its simplicity and complexity, God will draw those hearts He desires to Himself.
Youth Ministry Nugget #6: Be careful about teaching what you learned that day.
When we learn something, we get so excited and we want to teach it immediately. But honestly, we’re not really qualified to teach that yet. Does that mean God cannot use that? Of course not, but then, God spoke throught a donkey as well. When you learn something, commit to study. Dig deeper. Understand it in the context of the whole Scripture. Share it with your community, not your students but your peers. Let them challenge it. Begin to walk it out. See what this truth looks like in real life. Then let God birth a teaching that is full and whole, not just a t-shirt slogan.