You Don’t Need Extra Time to Do Youth Ministry

You Don’t Need Extra Time to Do Youth Ministry
Gregg Farah

Okay, so I admit the title is somewhat of a stretch. Student ministry does take time, and lots of it, especially if you make building relationships a priority. However, it doesn’t have to take as much time as you think. You just need some strategic planning. In other words, how can you build student ministry into YOUR schedule?

Some examples: Julia decided to invite her junior high girls to a lunch after church. Brilliant! It doesn’t require an extra trip out of the house (Julia is already at church) and doesn’t require extra time out of her day (Julia has to eat anyway). And – bonus doesn’t cost her a thing because she asks the girls to bring their own lunch money.

Mike invites students to attend a Christian concert. Great idea! Mike wants to go to the concert anyway, so stuffing some senior high guys in his car provides several hours of pre- and post-concert conversation – not to mention months of sharing stories about the trip.

Chris invites some guys to work out with him. Great use of time. Chris is working out anyway, so why not have a spotter or two, along with some good conversation in between reps?

Lindsay invited her senior high girls group to go shopping with her. Again, imagine the conversation that can be had as they bounce from store to store—not to mention the laughs. Plus, every time one of the girls wears something bought from that trip, that’s an instant reminder for all of them of their time together. Imagine a student pulling on a sweater and being reminded that God loves her because her leader told her so on their trip.

The big question is not, “How do I find time to do student ministry?” Instead, you need to ask, “What do I like to do (or need to do) that I can invite a student to join me?” This works for just about everything: trips to the movie, walks, attending sporting events, getting exercise, shopping, visiting a museum, trying a new ice cream shop, going for a drive, sharing a meal, and yes…even chores! (You’d be surprised how many students will help you rake leaves.)

On A Little Different Note

So it’s spring—it’s time for the basketball tournament, spring training, and warm weather. Chances are we have not only failed at our new years resolutions, but have forgotten them, set them on fire, buried them, and crushed them into powder. I have been out of shape and overweight for several years now. I would always get the old “Lets work on that tummy,” from my doctor but never seemed to care…until now. This year, I set out to not just lose weight but to get healthy. I started actually thinking about the things I was eating, and made an effort to exercise.

The weird thing was that when I tried to be healthy I found that I had actually lost weight as well. I mean, who knew this whole diet and exercise thing really worked? Here is the real deal. The whole reason I started out on this journey was because I actually felt convicted about what I have done to my body the past couple of years. I realized that being healthy, eating right, and exercising is actually a spiritual issue.

1 Corinthians 6:12-20 tells us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and that they are no longer ours, but God’s. There is a theme that started in the Garden of Eden, and continues throughout all of scripture, where God puts humans in charge of taking care of His creations. So if my body is a temple of God, and it’s my job to take care of that temple, then why is my temple such a wreck? As Christians we get so hung up on all of those things we should or shouldn’t be doing. We get upset about hot button “big” issues, yet we are neglecting a command from God Himself.

To be honest I am struggling with my resolution, but at least I am still trying. I have set up an accountability Facebook peer group to try and keep me accountable. I am going to try and ride my bike to work, and most importantly I am trying to pay attention to all the stuff I am putting in my body.

Even with all of my efforts I still fall short of my one small goal. In my frustration I realized that I am unable to retrain my behaviors, and live the way I am supposed to live. Adam and Eve messed everything up for us. We must all understand that when it comes to the things we should be doing we can’t do them, but God can. If you are like me and can’t do something small like having self control and discipline to fulfill a command from God, then understand you are weak and look to God to be strong in your weakness.

I examined my situation and made a new resolution. I made a resolution to seek God, make connections with Him, ask Him for help, and then get out of His way and let Him work. Remember that in our pursuit of God, our job is to do the smallest part and most of the time we can’t even do that—but it’s okay. We can’t, but God can. Make a resolution today to pursue God, and ask Him to take care of stuff in your life. Relinquish control to Him, and you just might be surprised at what happens.

This article “You Don’t Need Extra Time to Do Youth Ministry” by Gregg Farah was excerpted from: web site. May 2009. It may be used for study & research purposes only.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”