Every work day starts the same for me.
I get into the office, shut my door, grab my Bible and read.
I used to struggle with that. I thought Bible and prayer time should be spent at home and I should be “working” while I was in the office. I tried to do that, but quickly learned that with a baby, then toddler and now preschooler at home, the quietest place for me to talk to my King is in my office at church.
I need to stay connected to God’s word to be effective as a minister. I need to be plugged in to the truth.
So now, the first hour of my work day is spent reading God’s word, praying over my family, church and ministry and reflecting on his direction for my life. Staying connected to Jesus is vital in my walk and crucial for my ministry. It really is part of my work.
The same needs to be said about our ministries. The Bible must be fundamental to what we do with our students.
This has become clear as I’ve studied other faiths for a Wednesday night summer study we’ve been doing in my youth group.
As we studied world religions, like Islam and Buddhism, I was reminded of the vast differences between the Bible and other religious books and texts. As we turned the corner and covered cults, like Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witness, I saw how scripture was twisted, and in some cases ignored, to match the beliefs of the organization. Mormons even have their own religious book, the Book of Mormon, while Jehovah’s Witnesses have their own version of the Bible, the New World Translation.
It reminded me to stress scripture to my students. They must see the real thing so they won’t fall for a counterfeit.
Too often in youth ministry, we’re tempted to think of the program rather than the destination. We’re rushing from one big event to the next. One month it’s messy games, and next month it’s a retreat to Gatlinburg. After that, we’re planning a game night or an overnighter or a paint ball war.
Those things are important, and we need them, but more important than that is scripture. The Bible must be at the heart of everything we do. That’s not to say we don’t do messy games or paint ball wars. It does mean in all we do we flavor it with the truths of God’s word. Our weekly meetings need to revolve around scripture and center on Christ.
As youth ministers, we can’t just go week to week putting together a lesson, but we must think through the destination of truth we want students to find.
As we emerge from summer and head into the fall, we need to keep scripture at the core of what we do. More than ever, students need to see the truth.
As youth ministers, it’s our job to show them where to find it.