Friday, February 20, 2009

Some thoughts on ministry

I have to admit . . . I tend to go my own way. Not that I don't read, educate, learn and grow every day, but I'm not the type of person to jump on band wagons. I do what works for me. So needless to say, if I'm not the type of person to do fad diets, the latest parenting approach, yada, yada, yada, I'm certainly not the type of person to jump on ministry fads either.

The truth is that the church has been around 2000 years without me, and will continue to be around until Christ returns. So I'm not too worried about keeping up with the latest ministry trends.

But I thought I should take time to define my views on ministry.

While I've been working in youth ministry since I was involved in youth ministry, I really only count my last three years, since it's where I've had the opportunity to experiment. When I started at Calvary there were 5 kids in the youth group who were all juniors and seniors. So I prayed for them, and let them go. I turned my attention to a group of 5 6th graders. Is this right? Isn't it my job to reach all of the kids in the church? It's not that I don't encourage them to become involved, invite the, love them . . . I just didn't focus on them. I'm a stay-at-home mom and since I've started this job I've had two more babies! I cannot successfully nurture every child involved in the church. I would have quit by now. So that's my first stance in ministry . . . I accept that I cannot reach everyone.

Now to the five 6th graders. They're freshmen now. All five are still involved in the church. One is non-committal, one does not attend youth meetings, three are what I consider my core group. I know all of this sounds crazy unsuccessful! And you're thinking that I'm an idiot. But bare with me.

Those three, I disciple. I pray for them. I encourage them. I am confident that they have a personal relationship with Christ. I will predict that in the three years that those three girls have left in high school . . . our group will experience exponential growth. Why? Because they are sharing their faith with their friends!

My job for the next three years will be to let them lead, nudge them when they need nudged, encourage them when they're down, challenge them when they need challenged.

As far as the church as a whole is concerned? DO WHATEVER IT TAKES! I don't have a facebook page for my youth group because they don't use facebook! I text message my kids on the Saturday nights before we have youth group to remind them. That works! Before that, I sent them postcards. That worked! What if every Saturday night you got a text message from the pastor asking you to attend church?

Okay . . . this is no literary masterpiece but just ramblings.


Amanda said...

I'm glad to see you finally updated your blog! I have been having the same feelings about hospitality lately, I guess. I mean, I need to do more of it, but this usually comes in the form of making cookies, for me. And everyone is on a diet. Grrr. Making someone a fruit basket just isn't much fun. I guess I'll have to study hospitality a little more.

Rev. David Lawrence said...

Ministry in the Valley is hard. This is especially true with youth work because there are so few youth. You're doing a good job.

The awesome thing is when you can make a difference in the faith journey of just one young person. It is so cool to watch younger people grow in faith and even if they grow and then slip away you know that the seed is there.

Good luck with the Practices!