A Healthy Youth Ministry

Recently I decided to get a membership at a local gym. Why? Well, after years of bad eating habits and very few workouts, my body has taken a toll. I had to face the undeniable facts, I was in my mid 30’s, overweight and unhealthy. I had to do something about it asap. I knew If I kept delaying what I knew I needed to do, it was only going to get harder to achieve a healthy goal.

Youth Ministry is much the same. Sometimes out of bad habits we get into a rut and it’s difficult to make any kind of progress. Years pass and generations come and go, but do we truly make a lasting impression on the young people? Overtime our vision becomes blurred by the continual bad habits and the responsibilities we have at hand.

If you find yourself in this situation, here are 2 things that can help you get back on track:

1. A Healthy Youth Ministry requires us to be sincerely honest with ourselves.

Before any change can happen, we first have to be very honest with ourselves. We have to know exactly where we are. “Where we are” is very different than “where we want to be.” However, we usually pretend to be where we are not, my friend, that is called “denial”. Denial refuses to see and accept the fact that there is much work to be done.

In 2 Samuel 12 the prophet Nathan approaches King David and is clear with him about his sin. It was not until then that David realized his current state, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Therefore, he immediately asked God for forgiveness and asked him to create a clean heart and a right spirit within him.

Psalms 51:10 ESV Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

In other words, “God, please let me start over…give me the right heart and spirit…I want to do it right this time. David showed us to how to get on track…Pray, admit your faults, and decide to do it right this time.

2. A Healthy Youth Ministry requires us to be intentional

Day one going to the gym was super easy. Why? because it was the first day. Like a kid going to school on the first day of school I was excited to wear my new gym clothes. I was also excited to try the many different machines at the gym.

However once the hype was gone and the soreness kicked in, it was difficult to get excited. I had to decide to be very intentional and plan out my days so I wouldn't miss a workout.

This often happens in youth ministry as well, once the hype from the camp or the conference is gone and you face the reality of your situation, you quickly find out that it’s hard to get excited about your ministry. That’s why it’s important in youth ministry to place health over hype, and in order to do that we must be intentional about what we do

How to be intentional:

* Pray with and for your team constantly. (James 5:16)

* Speak the vision of the youth ministry as often as you can. This will let your team know where they are headed as a ministry. (Proverbs 29:18)

* Plan and schedule ahead of time, (recommended at least 6 weeks in advance). (Proverbs 16:3)

* Evaluate yourself and your leaders (recommended at least twice a year). (Psalms 139:23)

I’m still in this weight loss journey, it’s not easy, it’s definitely hard…but if I’ve learned something through this is that anything worthwhile takes work, a lot of work.

The great thing is that you are not alone. God is with you in every step along the way. He has great plans for you and your ministry.

-Oziel De La Cruz, Youth Pastor

Vital Church, McAllen, TX