In his article, “Some Advice for Youth Ministers” (posted at The Gospel Coalition), Dave Hinkley offers some good advice regarding priorities we set in youth ministry. Although originally posted in 2010, his advice is still timely. Here is an excerpt:
If we aren’t gathering these kids together to deepen their understanding of and trust in God’s word then we really shouldn’t bother. I’m not saying don’t do fun activities or fellowship in other ways; I am saying if your fellowship is not a means to greater discipleship to God and His Word, then you’re doing it wrong.
Don’t be afraid to go deep. With a little work on your part to translate, kids can understand pretty much any doctrine you want to talk about with them. What is more, they respond very well to being treated like they have a valued opinion on eternal matters. If you challenge kids to think deeply about the essential truths of our faith, they can and will grow.
Bottom line: if we are not presenting to them the glory and worthiness of Christ as He is presented to us in God’s inspired Word, we are wasting everyone’s time with mere activity. We want our kids to lift their eyes and hearts to Him in worship and experience the joy and freedom of the gospel. This isn’t going to happen if we spend an hour and 50 minutes seeing how many marshmallows can possibly go into their mouths and then 10 minutes on how God wants us to be good people.
(Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)