I am pretty good about procrastinating. I don’t know if I am good at it or I’ve just made it a habit of waiting till the last minute to do everything. And usually at the last minute I get the best ideas. This time , wasn’t such a good idea. See its close to youth service and I want to be in the place where I always have things prepared for my children . To the point that they leave feeling like they have received ministry on their level and that their parents feel equally fulfilled as well.
So as I was thinking , I began to think about the evolution of youth ministry. When I began ministry I was only about 17 years old . Actually for some time I had heard the voice of the Lord speak to me about Ministry. I was truly not thinking about the direction God was taking me into because I was so young but who was I kidding I came from two preachers .But I still just kinda wanted a personal relationship with God, that’s it . I knew that I had a special relationship with God and it honestly began very early. I can remember being in my room at night and just talking to God . So it was so easy for me to slid into that role, no matter how it happened.
My first Group of children weren’t that much younger than me . We probably would be friends if I weren’t their youth leader. These children would be considered as dinosaurs. They are the last of their kind. These kids knew how to walk in line. When one would clap they all would clap. When one went into worship the other would console . When this group went off to college our world had changed, drastically. We had just experienced 9/11 and right on top of that was the DC Snipper. We were on the cusp of a digital revolution . We had AOL , yahoo messenger , college club and black planet but we never knew that we were about to endeavor into something so great that it would change the course of everyones lives.
My second group of teens were a rowdy group of teens. I was about 24 years old at this point and most their parents were my peers. Which says a lot . These children weren’t bad but there were new things that were getting their attention. They were the kind of kids that talked about people with their parents. There was little to no parental discretion , yet they still had a heart towards God. Instead of spreading rumors through notes this group was opened to a new a door of communication. They started posting their things in chat rooms, and on new social media forums. And because cell phones had evolved they were now filming fights and sharing the footage in class. The group lacked direction but saturated attention. I think life moved too fast for this group and for the most part I don’t think they found where they fit. I spent most of my time with group showing them how great and big life was . When I would ask, what do you want to be when you grow up their answers would shock you but at the same time predictable. I think I have only a few children from this group to actually go to college. Two to graduate…probably still lost trying to find their place in life.
My next group only knew technology. They don’t make eye contact. Their head is consistently down. They can work a brand new phone in a day , but they don’t know how to read cursive. They don’t know what a type writer is and they don’t spell entire words and you may as well forget them speaking to you . Yet this group has big dreams and big goals. The world is small to them. Goals are more within reach. They can sit at home on their couch and look at all of their friends while they talk and their friends can be halfway across the world. They were born in the digital age and anything else is nostalgic and antique. This is the only generation that I have had that I have wondered…do they hear the voice of God.
Its so funny that as I was getting this all put together my parents ministered a word on, Are you Hearing? So many things have been distractions that has caused us to miss actually hearing what God has desired for us. I was watching the decision of Roe vs Wade and many have likened it to the book the Handmaids tell ( if you are under 18 don’t even ask to watch or read it ) . I thought how funny is it that sometimes life has a way of repeating even if doesn’t look like it .
In the book of Hebrews there is a warning against unbelief… The Holy Spirit says
Today if you Hear my voice do not harden your hearts. As you did in rebellion during the times of testing, your ancestors were tested and tried me . And for 40 years they saw what I did. This is why I was so angry with this generation. Their hearts are going astray and they have not known my ways .
As if that was enough the Holy Spirit repeats…Today if you Hear His voice do not harden your hearts.
Sometimes you guys may think , Gosh what they did 40 years ago or even in my case 25 years ago just doesn’t sit right with me .We launched social media , yet we never launched rules or etiquette with it. So basically we went rogue and opened the door to things that should have never been opened or uncovered and it leaves us vulnerable and angry with God. But here’s the thing…we’ve changed but God has not. The most consistent thing throughout my years of ministry is God’s faithfulness towards me . Even through all of my failures.
I know you may think this is tough but God desires that you hear his word. God desires that you understand that He has a plan for you and sometimes you have to just stop and listen.
How do you know that God is speaking to you?
- First we have to belong to Him. We have to say with our mouths and believe in our Hearts that Christ died and rose for our sins
2. Spend time with God . Spend time in prayer and reading the bible.
3. Shut off the noise. Take a moment and put our phones. Ask God …why was placed here on the Earth.
Samuel was just a little guy when he went to the temple to serve God. His mom had made a promise to God and during this time his mentor or youth Leader was Eli. When God spoke to Samuel the first time he immediately thought it was Eli speaking . So each time he heard the voice of the Lord he got up immediately to see what Eli wanted. Pretty soon Eli figure out it was God trying to speak to Samuel. And Eli told Samuel that the next time he hears it to say…speak Lord , your servant is listening.
Do you see how that flowed? First you need to Hear and then listen?
Though we have different medians to hear God we still have to be opened to Hear God…Are you Hearing