Youth Leader Blues . . .
- By Wilson Matthews
- Published 11/13/2007
Wilson is the youth leader at International Punjabi Masihi Church in Vancouver, Canada. Everyone loves this radical preacher's passion for Christ and His Church. Wilson helped organize the South Asian Global Convention (SAGC 2004) under the leadership of Pastor Pritam Singh. He is as "hairy-as-a-yak," "spits-like-a-camel," and is a F.A.T. (Faithful, Available, and Teachable) Christian. Wilson, a Malayalee Christian holds a BA in Biblical Studies from Trinity Western University and his mission is to make Scripture relevant to today's generation. Famous quote: "Knock it off!"
I've been involved in youth ministry for a number of years now. It is challenging, satisfying, and even exhilarating at times. But sometime I get the blues over it. One thing that I've learned over in the church ministry is that we have this very shallow measure of fruitfulness. It is called #'s. It is shallow measure when you look at Jesus' life. Sometimes there were great numbers and other times there was no one around him. Check out John 6 if you'd care to look.
I've learned that I can shoot big numbers when fun events are planned well ahead of time and the youth get a chance to tell all their friends and they come along and we all have a blast. But than some leaders have a wonderful team of overseers and they aren't to impressed by numbers... most of the time.
It stinks when you have people over see you who only see the half empty cup. It can be discouraging and quite disheartening at times... I'm glad that I'm not in that zone but most youth leaders are! The critics come out and say all the wrong things at the flesh's right time. They'll say that it isn't 'spiritual' enough? How have they grown doctrinally? Where is the growth in their prayer life? How about a burden for missions?
All these are valid concerns and I ask these questions all the time. So back to the drawing board to plan out something that will bear some spiritual fruit that is somewhat quantifiable and tangible. Than a new drawing takes place with worshipful music and wonderful teaching and who can ever forget the altar call and sharing time. It is planned, rehearsed and prayed over and implemented to come back to the critics again. The numbers have dwindled this time and the critics start picking at the lack of big #'s they weren't impressed with in the first place.
What have I learned in all this? People are fickle! No matter what's done, It can't please them all. And it is to this conclusion that I used to get the blues. But than I remembered Saul who was planning to please the people over pleasing God. It landed him in some BIG trouble. It was a tough break. To refresh you memory read 1Samuel 13-15. Than I realized another profound truth that brought allot of comfort and freedom! I've got nothing to loose now. Really I don't! What is the worse they can do to me? Criticize me?
It is back to the drawing board yet again and to start on a new move. The challenge this time is to balance the fun stuff youth like with the growing in spiritual disciplines (which is the stuff I really like!) I wonder what it will look like? How can it be done? What form or shape will it take? What colors should I use? And how about the textures? There is still more out there to be discovered. Are you ready?
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21)
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