Let’s Start at the Top
Someone has to be in charge. There has to be a head, a visionary, and a leader through whom God can breathe the work of ministry. Any animal with more than one head is a freak. This assignment is not a coveted position to be pursued or held onto as in a matter of possession. Rather this role will hold on to you. This is something you would just as soon run from as run to. It is not what you are voted into but something that has seemingly by fate selected you. You think about impacting the youth all of the time. Casual everyday experiences remind you of new ideas to try with the youth. If ever you are exposed to the ministry of an effective speaker or Christian band, your immediate thought will be, “How do I get the youth at our church to experience this ministry?” You find that things that typically make you most angry are problems you would like to “fix” and it generally concerns the youth. It is in your DNA. You enter a room and move towards the youth before heading to socialize with the other adults nearby. Connecting with the youth…it’s your thing, it’s in you, and it’s your assignment, youth leadership. So lead! From time to time inexplicable strong emotions overtake you at the hint of youth injustice. Others do not respond the way you do and don’t understand why certain issues effect you how they do, particularly when it comes to the students. You possess an innate youth advocacy disposition. Don’t fight it…it’s you. The angst you feel is most likely the result of your encounter with a youth-related injustice you were born to address.
Our tendency though is to first look at our inadequacies. After a quick inventory of all that we lack we are quick to disqualify ourselves from the task at hand. We are more apt to pass the baton of leadership to someone we deem “more qualified” rather than launching out into the deep ourselves. This kind of timid acquiescence sets us up for revolving struggle and frustration. God would have never breathed into you this passion, at this time, and set you on this road without first providing for you adequate shoes to make the journey. His storehouse of resources is freely available for you to access in order to fulfill your God-given assignment. Place the demand upon Him, and His ability to provide appropriate gifts and a winning skill set in you and around you. This is not about you and your mission to do and accomplish, instead it’s about a Holy God wanting to display His Holiness through you by reaching the youth in a real, relevant, and effective way. The result being, a motivated and empowered youth advocate, humble enough to allow the God of the miraculous to produce an effective ministry of life-change among the students, yet bold enough to take the mantle of leadership and forge confidently ahead. God does not call the qualified; He qualifies the ones that He calls! It’s man that looks on the outside, it’s God that is looking at the heart. While you waste precious time in hesitation, intimidated by your ideal of another who is “more suited to lead” God continues to admonish as He did through Samuel to Jesse who brought his favorite son before the man of God to be king: “I have rejected him, bring me David, he is the one.”
You may not identify with this characterization of your call. If that is the case, perhaps you need to re-examine your assignment. If however your heart has said, “Amen!” you are in the right place. You are the one, so take off your coat and make dust in the world. When the door opens walk faithfully through it. And if you are certain that this us who you are but the challenge of leadership threatens your confidence and muffles your courage, take heart. We should never doubt in the darkness what God has spoken to us in the light. Numbers 23:19 assures us that if God has said it…praise God, He will do it!
(Adapted from the ebook, "Bringing The H.E.A.T." by Steve Fitzhugh)
As a youth communicator I enjoy speaking to youth at all types of events, schools, and engagements in almost every demographic. I must admit there have been times that I could anticipate the disappointment coming, as the ambitious youth minister begins to see the event not shaping up as planned. Of course there will always be glitches, interruptions, and almost any crazy kind of thing to happen when you least expect it. I have found however that when you instead master the four "P's" of youth event planning you can rest assured you've done your best and you leave the rest up to God.
Too often we think of an idea for an event and immediately believe we have to do all of the planning. Planning should include not only adults but youth as well. Give yourself plenty of time, set up several planning/brainstorming sessions and thoroughly plan your event. Make sure you think about the theme, the flow, invitees, music, and food.
Planning is the easy part. Where most lose ground is during preparation. To prepare for your event you must meticulously go through the event from beginning to end, as if you are doing it, documenting as if you are doing it, every person, prop, mic, or resource item you need. Going to have greeters? Who will they be? What will they say? Will they have handouts? Going to have food? Who will cook? What about cups, plates and napkins? Adequate preparation will guarantee your event comes off without hitch.
Promotion is an art unto itself. Our youth today are very busy. Parent's are busy. Schools have complex demanding schedules. We can't expect students to show up at an event after seeing the invite in the bulletin and only hearing about it one time before that two weeks ago. Plan far enough in advance that they can see the event on the calendar and post on the fridge for parents and students. Use Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging to get the message out. Be creative.
Of course performing is the easy part. When the time comes to execute the plan, with confidence empower your team enjoy all the hard work and trust God with the results!