The article, chapter one in my book, addresses a problem I’ve noticed in some churches– a tendency to provide a lot of fun and entertainment, while not developing a lot of disciples of Christ.
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not one of those guys saying, “Dodgeball doesn’t work!” “Pizza parties don’t work!” I think these elements can open doors to great ministry… and that’s the key. They are just tools to open doors to ministry. They aren’t the ministry in itself. I’ll quote the article:
Will playing dodgeball, attending Christian rock concerts, and participating in icebreakers be the only youth ministry experiences our kids have to lean on when they face the real world? Or are those activities opening doors to something more foundational for their lives?
In the article/book I also talk about how our games and skits are our number one accessed pages on our web site. I was sad, hoping that our “outreach discussions” or “spiritual growth” discussions would be.
Here’s a couple peices of feedback:
This morning I received an encouraging email from Michelle, In Michigan. She offered her two cents on that subject:
Hey Jonathan, I just read your article on “Ministry to/BY Teenagers.” I just wanted to encourage you by saying that your site is a HUGE help to many of us. Perhaps the reason that the Games and Skits pages of your site get the most hits is because of internet search engines. Sometimes, a youth leader has a lesson plan all worked out, and is simply looking for a quick game or skit to accompany. They do a search on google, and up comes your site. Just a thought… Anyway, I love EVERYTHING about your site, and your books are among my favorite resources on my shelves.
You make a difference. Thank you!
Thanks Michelle. I hope you’re right. I hope that most people are making the Gospel a priority.
And from Steve:
I find your insightful thoughs on youth ministry and the particulars of reaching youth for Christ. The youth culture today is big into entertainment and the resources you share are wonderful. However, we must pray and lead our youth to engage God’s word. There are to many nominal Christians and we must raise up spiritual young people who can lead. We as leaders must lead by example. Thank you for sharing your Ezine message with us. It is insightful and challenges me personally as a leader to evaluate my ministry.
And from Scott in AZ.
Just got your email about the what ministry by students looks like. I am a Jr. High youth worker and wanted to let you be aware that your site has help me a lot with my small group and my teaching’s every Sunday. After or during my teaching I like to have the students break off into groups with a leader and talk about what we have been discussing. I have been very bless by your movie clip discussions for idea’s on questions I can ask my youth that has to go with the teaching. When I first took over the youth group a little over six months ago very few students even knew what the good news is and what it means to be a Christian. The training tools on your website have really help me on developing students to be able to not only understand what it mean to be a christian but how to live that life and be able to rely on God for there faith and not what some one told them. Keep up the good work!
We need to have fun with kids. There are a time and a place for pure fun activities (that’s why we provide so many ideas for them on our website). But I hope that our ministry provides more than just “food.” In John, Chapter 6, Jesus had just fed a bunch of people and they showed up again for more “food.” Jesus basically said, “Why are you guys just seeking perishable things like food when you should be seeking the eternal life that I offer.”
Two interesting things. Jesus DID feed people and meet their physical needs. But after meeting that need, he addressed a much more important need.
Food for thought.