After having a chat with Dr Godfrey Harold about ministry, I had to think and ask myself some fundamental questions about youth ministry.
Are we, who are in positions of authority and influence, be that youth pastors, senior pastors, elders, deacons, and leadership bodies, creating opportunities for the growth and development of youth or are we creating barriers and closing down opportunities for young people to develop or grow?
Ultimately, the numbers will show. While we do not want to focus on numbers and make it our goal and our all-in-all, numbers makes an honest reflection upon what we doing right or not. So, let’s not deceive ourselves and throw the number dialogue completely out of the window, because it is a gauge to reflect upon what we are doing. Sure, sometimes even with the best programs or the most trusted and sincere people we do not bring in the numbers, but that is the exception and not the rule.
So, have a look at your numbers. Listen to the whispers and the dialogues, and ask yourself, “why is the youth leaving our church?” “Why do the youth not want to be a part of the church?” and “what role do I play in their untimely exit?”
So to the one who has the influence, how are you influencing? How are the decisions you making affecting our youth?
Are you a hinge that is opening the door wide open for youth? Do you offer young people the opportunity to discover themselves, when we place spiritual formation on the same level as physical and emotional formation and development? To make mistakes and even mess up in a big way? To spoil the carpet that was donated more than ten years ago by a person no-one remembers any more? Do you offer the opportunity for young people to ask questions even when we do not have the answers?
Or are you a lock? Keeping the door of opportunity, self-discovery, growth and searching closed and locked? By allowing youth to not feel free to be themselves and discover what they can be in Christ sends them a clear and loud message that they are not important and do not matter. Sometimes the things we do not do has more volume than those we do.
Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?