Saturday, April 27, 2013

Stop Being a Youth Leader

I'm not a huge fan of "youth" stuff. Youth groups, youth books, youth bands, youth Bibles, youth this, and youth that. Whenever I read the word "youth" preceding a different word that is used to describe a certain type of genre, I'm almost immediately turned off.


Ok, first of all, please lower your voice. Mostly, whenever you hear about something that's been modified for youth, it simply means taking the adult version of that something and dumbing it down, making it cheesy, or slapping on some weird graphics that don't add any real substance to that something. In other words, it's just a worse version of the original.

"That's not true!"

Look, y'all are gonna need to learn to use your inside voices. Anyway, think about it. Youth Bibles are usually just ones that look "edgy" and have commentaries that use "relevant" lingo. (Don't even get me started on The Message Bible.) I have to precede this next one with telling everyone I've known in a youth band that I'm sorry and I love you. But please, if you're going to form a band for your church's youth group, dedicate your time and energy to it just as any other "normal" band would dedicate themselves to becoming great at what they do. Youth books usually have the same powerful messages delivered in their normal counterparts, but with a lesser vocabulary. Thanks, but I can read.

Probably the worst of all of these youth things are youth leaders. Theoretically, this is a great sounding idea: take a student who shows promising qualities of faith, encourage leadership potential, and disciple him. However, if my time in youth groups has been representative of youth group culture, youth leaders tend to end up being a "good" kid that's been in the youth group a long time. These people have no passion for Christ and other people, but they like the way "youth leader" rolls off the tongue. They are simply riding on the coattails of their youth pastors ministry, and they eventually fade away because they never really had a heart for a specific ministry.
"But thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you" (2 Cor. 8)
Titus. I'm not saying he was a youth, but here we have a guy who caught his own fire. Even though Paul already had a ministry to the Corinthians, Titus jumped in and also made it his own. Working with youth leaders that have no passion is an uphill battle. Trying to motivate them is impossible unless the Holy Spirit gives them a heart-cry for the students they minister to.

Titus didn't need anyone to motivate him. He didn't need anyone to come alongside him, constantly nudge him to do work, or have to continually persuade him with weekend retreats and revivals. He got passionate about the Corinthians and he served them.

My point?

If you're involved in some kind of ministry just because you got old enough, take some time and truly evaluate what you're doing. Find out what God's naturally made you passionate about, find out what work is already being done in that area, and jump in. Because almost nothing is worse than a bored leader.

Stop riding the coattails of man, but jump into the passion of God.


Great post! :) I don't read your stuff that often, but the once-in-a-whiles that I have read have always been really enjoyable and ring of truth. I just wanted to add onto this that not only youth leaders seem to not have much passion for what they're doing, I think worship leaders might do well to realize that being a worship leader doesn't only mean standing up in front and playing your instrument or singing into a microphone. From what I've seen there's either no passion or, which is better? worse?, manufactured, artificial passion. Also, I wanted to ask: you stated a problem, lack of passion, but what do you think is a solution? You can't force your heart to feel something it doesn't or decide to fall in love. Also, you said you should find an area that you're naturally passionate about, I'll stick with my example of music. But I know people involved in music ministries/worship teams that are super passionate about music but not about God. I guess I'm just saying its more important to make sure your passion is for God first and foremost before it's for the area your serving in.

Well thank you! I think the issue of passion is first addressed at whether or not one is passionate about God to begin with.

Second, it is addressed at the question of whether or not we are passionate about people in general. I wrote this post from the perspective of already being sold out for Christ and loving people.

Thanks for the comment!

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