Monday, September 19, 2011

Success in youth ministry…is waiting on God

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In July, I introduced you to Rachel Blom who runs the website:

She wrote this article that I think many youth ministry veterans can relate to, and need a reminder of: Waiting is hard.  I hope you enjoy this post:

We had just started out in youth ministry in a church and we didn’t know any of our students. So we spent a lot of time getting to know them. Sunday after Sunday we would eat together, hang out, have small group sessions or go to youth group together.

Besides having fun we were having some good discussions and we could share a lot of our experiences and beliefs. We tried to come up with creative means to teach, using songs, paintings, games, videos, independent study and group assignments. We did everything we could. We did a three session study on the basics of the Christian beliefs (called the “Fifteen steps of Christian Faith”),

But while it was clear these students were having a good time with us and loved hanging out together, we didn’t see much ‘result’ or ‘fruit’. Nothing seemed to change in their beliefs, in their behavior. I had worked hard and it somewhat frustrated me that I wasn’t as effective as I had hoped I would be.

Were we missing something?

Were we doing something wrong?

Were we having any impact?

I started praying more.

After a year and a half of investing in these students, we couldn’t really come up with something good to teach on, so we just sat down with them and asked them what their ‘spiritual new year’s resolution’ was.

I wasn’t expecting that five of them to say that they had made the decision for Christ and wanted to get baptized. I was completely stunned, and then overwhelmed with joy when two of them mentioned the Fifteen steps study in particular and said that that had convinced them they wanted get serious about their faith.

I learned something that day.

I learned that being successful in youth ministry is sometimes about waiting, and waiting and more waiting… on God to do the work.

All that time that we weren’t seeing results, God was at work in their hearts.  We just couldn’t see it.

I have to confess, I’m still not good at waiting.

I’m a doer, impatient as ever to see immediate results, but I’ve tried to remembered that lesson and be more content with trusting the timing of the Lord

Rachel Blom is a youth ministry veteran from The Netherlands, currently residing in Germany with her husband of sixteen years and their wonderful three years old son. She spends most of her time on her daily youth ministry blog, aimed at training youth leaders world wide to better serve in youth ministry. You can also find her on Twitter via @youthleadersac
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