Instead of New Year’s resolutions let’s talk about a youth ministry revolution.
Year’s ago I devoured Mark Senter’s classic book, The Coming Revolution in Youth Ministry. In it he predicted a transformation of the way youth ministry is done. He predicted a massive re-ordering of youth ministry back to the ways of the early church.
This outstanding book was written in 1992 but, sadly, we’re all still waiting for the revolution to come. If anything youth ministry seems like it has become more and more institutionalized over the last 27 years or so since Senter’s book was written.
But, even after almost three decades, I’m convinced that there will be a revolution in youth ministry. But, for that revolution to truly begin, youth leaders must make some radical shifts in the way they view and do youth ministry. To be specific, there are seven courageous decisions that enough youth leaders (including you) must make if this revolution is going to truly get kickstarted.
1. The courageous decision to become a serious intercessor
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people.” 1 Timothy 2:1
Without youth pastors interceding on behalf of their teenagers (and recruiting others to join them) youth ministry stands no chance. But with praying youth pastors and the “Air Force” they’ve recruited, youth ministry can become an unstoppable force for the kingdom.
How much time do you spend in prayer for your teenagers every week? Do you have a strategy to get others praying for your teenagers as well? Is every middle school and high school covered in prayer by both students and adults? Check out The Pray for Me Campaign, Moms in Prayer and Claim your Campus for great resources and strategies to prioritize prayer for the next generation.
2. The courageous decision to mobilize your teenagers for evangelism
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” Ephesians 4:11,12
Your primary job as a youth pastor is to equip your teenagers “for works of service.” One of the most crucial works of service is evangelism.
Evangelism is the key to building God’s church. It is the primary means through which the kingdom of God advances and territory from the enemy is taken.
When teenagers are equipped to share the Gospel they leverage their social equity to reach their friends with the good news of Jesus. They also grow deeply in their faith because they put what most to them on the line, their reputation amongst their peers.
When Jesus said to his young disciples, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of people” (Matthew 4:19) he was forever linking evangelism to the discipleship process. So, if you’re serious about discipling your teens you should get them sharing the Gospel with their peers as soon as humanly possible.
The ministry I lead, Dare 2 Share has tons of tools, events and curriculum to help you equip your teenagers to share their faith. Here’s a simple 4 minute “crash course in evangelism” that will get you started,
3. The courageous decision to invest in a few
“Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” Matthew 10:1
Instead of primarily investing in the crowds, Jesus invested in the few. Sure, he ministered to the crowds but he poured his life into a handful of serious young leaders whom he chose to be his disciples.
It was those disciples who carried on his work and led the “revolution” after he was gone. Here’s what Luke wrote in Acts 4:13 about two of the few he had invested in for 3 1/2 years, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
This means developing a high caliber student leadership team filled with teenagers who don’t just set up the chairs for your youth group meeting but fill those chairs with the friends they are seeking to reach for Christ. These teenagers are the bar you are setting for the rest of your youth group. They are the ones you and your high caliber team of adult volunteers (who, of course, should be modeling a Gospel Advancing life as well) are investing in on a regular basis.
Like Jesus, minister to the crowds but pour your life into the few.
For help in building this high caliber team of student/adult leaders in your youth group get them to attend Lead THE Cause this summer. This full-week intensive builds student leaders like the Marines builds warriors.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Christian Post, Greg Stier