Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Stop Doing These 3 Things in Your Youth Ministry

13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.”  ~ Mark 10:13-16 (NIV)

When we speak to our youth, how do we fashion our words? In Mark 10, we see where Jesus understood how important it is to minister to the youth effectively and to build them up. Instead of rebuking the youth or turning them away, Jesus insisted that the young ones should have the ability to engage with Him. In this scenario, we see that the all-powerful and perfect Savior of our world showed us that we must not be a barrier between our youth and Christ. Check to be sure that these three areas in your youth ministry are not stumbling blocks that are preventing your youth from engaging Christ.

Stop Holding Back On Tough Discussions
Are your students trusted to be able to handle tough topics? They have seen and experienced enough of this world to know that they are no longer in need to be fed “book report” summary sermons on the Bible. They are ready for the real stuff. They are ready to digest the meat of the Word of God and determine what it means to apply it to their everyday lives. You can talk about drugs, sex, cyber-bullying, suicide, pornography, abortion, cutting, gossip and everything in between. If you don’t, the world will. More than likely, their friends are quite outspoken on these matters. In my experience of working with 7th and 8th graders, even these students are ready to join in on the conversation. After all, they are already looking up these topics online on their smartphones. These topics are important and real for today’s youth, and their understanding of them directly impacts their understanding of who they are in Christ.

Stop Talking Down to Them
Are your students respected and treated like adults? When addressing them or talking about them, do you or your leaders call your teenagers “kids”? These little things may not seem like they matter, but they are the small nuances that our youth pick up on. Today’s youth expect to have a place at the table to impact the world around them, and the words we choose can affect how the leadership perceives and treats their students. Calling a 17-year-old student a “kid” can be condescending and inconsistent with a youth ministry that wants to engage their students on an equal footing and in a respectable manner.

Stop Preventing Them from Owning their Faith
Are your students allowed to become involved in your youth ministry? The youth of today have come to the realization that they are no longer just consumers of the world’s information. They are also contributors. As a result, they increasingly view their world through the shared experiences of those around them. While this is most prevalent in the realm of social media, this can spill over into the church as well. Students want to impact the lives of those around them in a positive way, and oftentimes they are simply just looking for guidance to find out how.

But how can we do this? What can we do to empower our youth? I’m thrilled to say that next week we will be sharing a very exciting announcement to address this topic! Share this article with the youth ministers and youth pastors that you know so that they can subscribe and receive next week’s message!

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This blog has a focus on small groups, men's ministry, and youth ministry. Join us for the journey by subscribing and sharing this post!

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