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.


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