Every once in a while you, write something that REALLY hits home with people.
I had that experience yesterday and today with a blog post I wrote for youthministry360. It was a post that asked a simple question, “When Is A Youth Minister Too Old To Be Effective?” You can read it by clicking here if you want.
The post garnered more one-day views than any we’ve written in nearly 2 years.
But to me the encouragement isn’t in numbers, but in the form of the comments. There were roughly 20 different comments from youth workers, many of them talking about how they are more effective and more in love with youth ministry now that they are in their 30′s, 40′s, 50′s, and even 60′s than they were in their 20′s.
It’s a powerful reminder to me of the importance of solid spiritual growth over a lifetime spent walking closely with Christ. But it also speaks to the role our obedience plays in God’s desires to use us.
Reading the comments was a blast for me. I’d love for you to check it out if you haven’t had the chance to.
This discipleship quote, from Mike Breen’s Building A Discipling Culture resonates so strongly with me.
Jesus created a highly inviting but highly challenging culture for his disciples to function and grow within. If we are going to build a culture of discipleship, we will have to learn to balance invitation and challenge appropriately.
As I see it most often, I don’t find that we have as much of an issue with the “invitation” as we do the “challenge.”
As we walk with others along their journey of becoming real followers of Christ—whether it’s teenagers, our children, mentees, our spouses, etc.—we have to make sure we aren’t inviting them to anything less than the picture of discipleship Jesus painted in the Gospels.
As you go throughout your day and your week, join me in considering how we balance these two tensions in our discipleship efforts.
Have an awesome weekend. And thanks for giving your time to stop by and read. I appreciate you!
Actually, they may not very much to do with discipleship at all. But, it occurred to me the other day that their pre-flight message may have a lot to teach us.
Have you ever stopped and thought about the fact that on most planes, 90% of the passengers don’t listen to a single word of the pre-flight safety spiel given on all airlines?
On a flight from Memphis to Birmingham this week, I watched a particularly perky flight attendant give one of the most impassioned and animated safety briefings I’ve ever seen. And not a single person (that I could tell) even noticed she was talking.
While I can’t assume to know her motives, it seemed to me that her passion was more for her own entertainment. Our response wasn’t necessary.
Heaven forbid there are parallels between the ubiquitous, and ubiquitously ignored, pre-flight safety speech and your discipleship efforts.
Are you going through the motions of small groups because that’s just what you’re supposed to do?
Do you push on with your scheduled activities/gatherings in spite of obviously not engaging your students?
Are you motivated more by simply having a place to be than by actually providing a meaningful service?
My hunch is that none of this describes you. But it’s a good challenge for us all to remember as we disciple students.
Oh, and it’s not just methodology. Some years ago Delta shook things up by filming a pre-flight safety video using clever camera work, high production value, and a particularly dynamic flight attendant. It caused a stir for a while . . . Months later? The video would play virtually unnoticed, the new method falling as flat as the old.
The truth is this: if your audience doesn’t value your message, how you deliver it will only hold their attention for so long.
Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Creative Commons by kudumomo
What do we do when we feel like we’re not where we need to be with God? When we feel distant from God?
Do we turn to disciplines such as Bible study, prayer, service, etc, as a way of reviving a spark in our relationship with God.
What do we do when our ministry isn’t where it needs to be with God?
Do we turn to programs or spreadsheets when we don’t see the results we like in our ministry?
If we do, it shouldn’t surprise us. This is the same logic we follow when we see our waistline expand. Or when our car starts making noises.
The problem is that our faith isn’t like our Ford. We can’t get it back “runnin’ right” by grabbing a toolbox, popping the hood, and going to work fixing the problem.
To get our faith back on the right track, we have to first re-discover our awe for the person of Christ, and a true appreciation of what He saved us from. We have to remember what it was like to need Christ with every ounce of who we are. We have to be radically moved by an authentic encounter with Christ, heck, with every encounter we have with Him
Disciplines, practices, and methods help keep this awe alive. They help bring an absolutely essential depth to the relationship.
But a step-by-step plan for spiritual growth will not awaken you to a vibrant, relevant faith. Only drawing closer to Christ will do that.