8:03 AM | Posted by Mark Ashby | Edit Post
Last time I blogged, I talked about reculturing myself to become more Christlike. I mentioned that I must be Christ-like to the sinners of this world. In this post, I am going to blog (used as a verb...wow) about reculturing the way we do discipleship.
For the 3 years I have been in youth ministry, I have learned A LOT. There have been a lot of struggles between me and God sometimes because of the way things were handled, correction: the way I handled things and slapped a God bumper sticker on it to seek the approval of those around me.
I was always taught the mold of youth ministry is simple. We base our mold on Event Evangelism and Friendship (relational) ministry. This means that we plan some big events somewhere in the calender and we speak to the youth on a weekly basis about the truth that we know. We teach them these things all through middle and high school in hopes that after they graduate, they will not "graduate" Jesus as well.
This mold of youth ministry may work with some, but it is very few and far between. The emerging church is changing and we must change the way we do ministry to fit those around us. Students will not grow just by sitting there and retaining information, even if it is truth. We must constantly work towards changing how they view themselves in God. We, as youth workers, must equip the students to be able to answer this question: "What kind of person am I going to be?"
Just sitting there on Sunday's and Wed. nights and speaking about God to students who have heard it their whole lives, is not going to be effective. There are 2 forms of students that leave youth groups today: 1. When the graduate, they see the "Christian faith" as nothing but rules and legalistic way to live life. They do not want to invest their life in something that is just going to constantly judge them. 2.There are the students that see that the Christian faith can have meaning to some, but they don't see where it fits in in the next step of their journey.
These type of people, who sit there and listen and retain information, yet do not do anything about it have static faith. They learn all they need, and this can also confuse students and even us as believers. We can be fooled into thinking that all we need is information and that helps us grow. This is only a half truth. We need inward and outward faith.
We must show what we are learning is really effecting our lives. As a teacher of the faith of Jesus, I must not only teach the students the story of God, but where they are in that story. How can I present the gospel to the students and show them that where they are in the gospel story? I believe it is by living the outward faith which helps us grow our inward faith.
We must not sit on our faith. We must use our faith outside the walls of church, outside the walls of ourselves to show Christ in the dark world.
2:41 PM | Posted by Mark Ashby | Edit Post
The Great Commission tells us that we need to go out and tell others about Christ, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. How do we do that? How do we communicate the life-changing love of Jesus? How can we make something that seems irrelevant to many, relevant to all? It is a simple answer: life-dynamic evangelism.
What is life-dynamic evangelism? This is when we share God to others in the here and now. Most of the time, when evangelizing to others, we share about our past. We tend to stay away from the present or the here and now because we have already changed. If you are a Christian, we still struggle with sin, we share joy in things and with Christ, and we have the same emotions we did before our divine appointment. Life-dynamic evangelism is sharing Jesus in the here and now. Our salvation story is important, but in order to relate to others and invite them to share this journey with you, we must be transparent and open. We must tell those around us, are we living a Christ-focused life today? What is your story like now?
I am going to re-culture myself. I am going to start from the top down and look at my life. Where in my life am I not leading a God-honoring life? What do I need to do to change it? How can I be so real to these students and people around me that I exude Jesus to them? I do not want to force anyone into a relationship with Jesus. I want people to experience it with me. I want those who do not follow Jesus to have as much input into my life as those who do follow Jesus. What am I doing to disciple those who are new to Christ? What am I doing to show Jesus to the students who don't know Jesus? How am I helping the students who already know Jesus?
In my ministry, I must take my life; live a God-honoring lifestyle, love God and all people, and show the love that Jesus shows me everyday to those around me. I must live my faith, not just talk about it on Sunday's and Wednesday nights; when I am paid to talk about it. I must be there for the students at all costs. I must show them that no matter who they are, or where they are in life, I love them enough to lay down my life for them.
Youth Events and a Friendship mold of youth ministry is great. I do believe I am becoming relational with my students at the church. I believe that this relationship we share will have some kind of impact on their life (hopefully). What am I doing to those outside the church?
To reculture ourselves, myself, I must focus on being in a community with believers and non believers. I must be seen as Jesus-like, a friend of sinners. I can't bridge the gap bewteen the church and a constantly changing culture. Bridges are cool. They connect 2 points that are more than likely never to connect. However, in a changing culture, can I build a bridge between church and the world? If I have to build a bridge, it is a little disheartening. This means that there is a gap so wide, that there is no other connection between it. Instead of building this bridge between a continually growing gap, I must get into a canoe with several leaders with the same life-dynamic evangelism mind set and meet the people where they are.
Instead of having students come to church and have the believe in all the right things and their lives will be good, I must show them and walk with them the steps to living a God-honoring life. I must take the steps with them and help them understand through discipleship of how to live a God-honoring life. But I must first live this God-honoring life. I can't speak it and not walk it. I have done that for too long in my life.
McDonough, GA and Henry County are about to experience something huge. Not because of me. I don't want any of this credit. God is about to do big things for my church and for all the surrounding churches, but I know that God is going to use me. It is all because of Him. I am going to reculture the leadership of the youth group, so that we can face the world head on, with Christ by our side, and being relevant to those around us. God is going to use me to equip the students on how to share Christ outside the church walls. Events will still be planned to help bring students into the church that would not normally be going to church, but discipleship and follow ups, and many more things will be done to help the students along in their walk, struggles, fears, hurt, and joys of life.
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