Last night before Bible study, my office was crowded with people. I was reminded, ONCE AGAIN, how plain my office is. So I told the students that they could get creative.
Normally a youth pastor would think this is a terrible idea to give a bunch of kids spray paint and tell them to go crazy on a wall.
Well, that is exactly what I did. I told my kids to go nuts on my wall and see what comes out. The picture to the left is the result of the madness that ensued, the hideous smell, and the haze that was in my office the rest of the night.

I was thinking about all of the creativeness that we seem to look for in ministry, when I walked in my office to be reminded of how creative my students are...or aren't depending on the person. When I think back to how many times I have tried to be innovative and creative, I seem to really plateau. How many youth ministers that are reading this blog can go back in their ministry and say, "You know, I tried the same thing. I wanted to be different to attract more students to my ministry."

It is good to be creative. It is good to be different. The only different I try to instill in my life and the lives of the students I come across is simple, to be Kingdom minded different. Don't be the worldly different.

So often, youth pastors try to have the edge on other churches. Suddenly our local communities have become a stock market and the kids that are involved are the shares being thrown around with no regard. We get so competitive with other groups, that we miss out on some real ministry time with our students we have.

The church I currently work for, is the biggest Methodist church in the area. There are also two large baptist churches right beside us and down the street a few miles. I am not trying to compete with these churches to have more students and have the best youth ministry in town. It is my job to glorify God and follow the vision for this church and to be a branch to the students. I know students that attend both churches and I do not pressure them to come to my church because we are more fun, less serious, and do CRAZY events all the time. If that were the case, I will just hang the circus tent from my steeple and see how many people start coming then!

Graffiti is an art to some people and to others it is a complete and utter waste of time. When I asked my students to put graffiti on my wall, I was asking them to express themselves. I asked them to be their own type of creative and do something different to them.

Why don't we as youth pastors try to infuse and equip our students with these different forms of creativity? Students can see right through us if we are not being genuine and faithful to God.
So often we can be in competition mode that we miss certain students who really needed to be talked to or to be accepted.

Ministry is just like this wall of graffiti that sits before me. It is creative. It is innovative. It is different. But it is not the creativeness to attract hundreds of students to this church. It is not then innovative mentality that makes students think about God more on a daily basis. It is not the difference in the programming that makes students come to this or any other church.
The one simple thing that makes everyone come together is love. Jesus' love for us, our love for Him, and our faithfulness to follow what HE has told us to do.

Early on in youth ministry, I was always trying to find the edge. I was always trying to be on the cutting edge technologically and ministerially. MY edge is nothing new. I can not reinvent the wheel and sell it as a new product. I have to believe in the item I am selling and sell it to the best of my ability. My edge is simply this:

Matthew 28:18-20 (New Living Translation)

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,a]">[a] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

I am never going to reinvent the wheel. Other youth pastors who are large and in charge of youth ministry have paved the road for people like me. They have been through the burner and back to find out what if effective ministry. These three verses are the most effective ministerial edge we can ever have. If we are faithful to God, our evangelistic outreach is effective.

We must also ALWAYS remember that we do not know more than our senior pastor and we are NEVER our own church. We are simply the branch of the church, following the vision laid down from God to our senior pastor. I am a follower of Jesus and trust that HE will make me be creative and innovative enough to follow Him with my whole life and my whole ministry.
Where are you going to lead your group? Are you going to trade them around and acquire stock to make your group the biggest and the best dog and pony show? Or are we going to make disciples of Christ through His word and faithfulness to us?


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