the shock factor...

There are times when I hear about pastors and churches doing something so extreme, I think of Kevin in Home Alone. I slap my hands on my face and want to scream as loud as possible!
In youth ministry, we can take scare and shock tactics to students in order to help people come to Christ at an instant.

Let me start by being a little transparent. I have  done my fair share of shock factors. I have one talk in my pocket, where I line up 4 metal chairs and slam them on the hard floor to make a point. It is loud and shocking and gets students attention. However, after that talk, where do I go from there.

Are we prepared for the damaged we cause students when we force people into being a Christian. We wonder why statistics are saying that 80% of students do not go back to church after graduating. Why are we letting the bottom fall out?

Recently, God opened probably one of the biggest doors of my youth ministry career. It was a time of humble speech, listening, forgiveness, and grace. For me, I experienced a burden off of my heart that I had prayed and thought about almost weekly. I even tried to count certain people off, but I could never let it leave my mind. Regardless, the point is, that through this experience, we as youth minister can be lone rangers. We want to do it our way, put our mark on the group, and leave with a huge budget deficit and for a church that appears greener on the other side. And we do this all within 17 months.

Friends, I want to warn us about something that has been on my heart for a while. We ALL know that relational ministry is the key to growing a youth ministry. And I have learned that I do not get along with everyone. It was shocking to me! However, through this self realization, I have come to learn to lean on Christ more and to simply ask other to lean on Christ with me. I can't do it alone.

If you are looking to get more students in the group, or more butts in seats; stay away from the carnival acts. Next time it has to be bigger and better. When I gave my chairs talk, I don't think I would have been prepared if revival came all through the students and everyone became believers right then. I was more preoccupied with me than Christ, even when speaking about Christ.

Look to Christ to point you to others as well. It is good to be upfront, you're paid or volunteer your time for things like this, however, do not do it all on your own. The shock factor for us is to admit when we need help, and sadly that time for me was 1 1/2 years later.

follow me...

For some time, the idea of being a follower has never stuck with me. I have always wanted to tread my own path. For as far back as I can remember, I would claim to make my own path, be creative, do my own things, but in the end, I found that I am simply following the trend. I am still part of the MASS of people herding through life aimlessly at times.

The idea that a follower is a bad thing needs to be taken from your memory. We honestly are all followers. Look at your family for example. You are following the legacy of your parents or caregiver that raised you. You are following a ladder at work to earn more money. We are following others who tell us what trends are in ANY hobby that we have. We are designed to follow. The question is, who or what are we following?

For me, I measured myself by the people I knew, the people my dad and brother knew, how many nice things I have, and how much money I can make people think I have. Our lives are not about our things, where we have gone, who we know, or how many assets we can claim on our taxes. The things to know are simply that we need to follow Jesus.

Jesus said it plainly to disciples, "FOLLOW me and I will make you fishers of men." If that doens't get your attention you need to check your pulse. Jesus knew exactly how to talk to people and how to love people no matter what. Even in my own life, my church, we see judgement handed down daily. I also feel and fear judgement daily.

I have tried to walk to my own path, I have tried to march to my own drum, that when I look to the side; I realized that I am simply walking on the fringe of where society wants me to go. I have been a sheep with blinders on this whole time. I am 27. Where have the years of my life gone? What have I done effectively for the Kingdom of God? What will happen when I leave this earth? How can Jesus, let alone my wife and friends and family, love someone as lowly and dumb as me?

I battle with a lot of things. I stumble almost daily. God has called us to follow HIM, not society. We must walk against the grain and move forward. Watch this video below. Watch the dancing man earn a first followers and how infectious it becomes in such a quick amount of time. Will you be a first follower and join in the dance with Jesus or will you be sitting on the side wondering why people are dancing in the first place.

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