From Chapter 6: Mindset Shift #1 – Youth Are Leaders TODAY, Not Just Tomorrow
The problem with most youth ministries is that they are built on entertainment. Most youth pastors feel a great need to be the clown, fire-eater and juggler all rolled into one. Empower the youths, don’t entertain them!
This is good news for pastors who know they can never be a Jimmy Fallon or
a James Corden. Don’t get me wrong. Xbox, basketball, games – they all
have their place.
There is nothing wrong with all those. In fact, we need those to attract new friends who are not yet Christians. But we cannot build a youth ministry purely on entertainment. Empower your youths, don’t entertain them.
In our services, the Word is never watered down. The message is tweaked to be relevant, yes, but never diluted.
I always tell our youth leaders:
If you babysit the youths, you will get babies.
If you lead the youths, you will have leaders.
Don’t just love them. Train them, lead them, guide them.
Give them a vision for God and train them towards fulfilling that vision.
So if you come visit Heart of God Church, you will see youths running the
weekend services for youths. They are trained to be leaders. They are
trained to handle the operation of the services – screens, cameras,
lighting, sound, music.
You might spot a nine-year-old photographer zipping through the congregation, stealthily capturing moments in the service. You’ll see 16-year-old leaders boldly praying for other pastors to have the same anointing for reaching youth. During ‘Reinforcements Weekend’, we up the ante. The entire service in all its departments is run by those 16 and below!
When the recent COVID-19 crisis hit and the church went into online mode, we did not lose the momentum. The youths made the jump to online with such finesse because from day one, it has always been about training and empowerment. So when COVID-19 descended, the youths didn’t just wait around to be entertained by church online programming. They knew it was not about entertainment! Instead they jumped onboard to create captivating content for our online services. It was so surreal watching them make the digital plunge! During COVID-19, the youths used technology for empowerment and enrichment, not entertainment!
But sadly, we live in a world that has a consumer mentality. In the end times, there will be a consumer mentality.
2 Timothy 3:1-5
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
People will live for themselves. They will live for pleasure and
enjoyment. Sometimes Christians will have a consumer mentality too.
But Christianity is not a consumer religion. It is a producer faith!
The church is not an amusement centre. It is a training centre.
The church is not a shopping centre. It is a giving centre.
The church is not a nursery or a childcare. It is a gym.
The church exists not to solve your problems but to help you grow to become a problem solver.
Remember this: Empowered youths become producers. Entertained youths become consumers. Empower, and don’t entertain your youths today!
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