-->“Youth Ministry - NOT a DIY Project! Remembering the Role of the Holy Spirit”
I love DIY (Do It Yourself) projects! As a result, I love Home Depot, and the show Home Improvement with Tim Allen! In a strange and nerdy way I find fixing, building, and maintaining my home quite satisfying. But in our culture that praises DIY projects, independence, and solo work, we as Youth Ministers must fight every urge to treat ministry in the same way. Youth Ministry is not a DIY project!
So if it’s not done alone, who is it done with? I’m convinced that without the empowerment and participation of the Holy Spirit our ministries will be weak, impotent, ineffective, and void of the spiritual fruit we so badly want.
As part of the “Remembering What’s Important” series, I’ve been asked to reflect upon the role and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Let’s consider His role in Scripture, in us as Youth Ministers, and at Youth Group.
The Holy Spirit in Scripture:
One of the most concentrated teachings on the Holy Spirit comes from John 14-16. Consider again what Jesus taught there:
· John 14:16 “[The Helper will] be with you forever,”
· John 14:17 “… he dwells with you and will be in you.”
· John 14:26 “… he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
· John 15:26 “… he will bear witness about me.”
· John 16:7 “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”
· John 16:8 “… he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:”
· John 16:13 “… he will guide you into all the truth...”
· John 16:14 “He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
The Holy Spirit in Us
The most unexpected passage is John 16:7 where Jesus says, “… it is to your advantage that I go away”. This runs against my natural assumption that Jesus’ physical presence is better than his absence. But since Jesus is absent, the Spirit is present in all believers. The Spirit then “teaches us all things and brings to remembrance all that Jesus taught” (John 14:26), and “guides us in all truth” (John 16:13). Great courage and boldness should result from knowing that we are empowered by the greatest and most powerful Person youth ministry has ever seen!
How contradictory it is when we fail to express our dependence upon the Spirit! We portray a powerless Holy Spirit when we depend upon our own wisdom, effort, and passion. We imply our personal efforts are more effective than the work of the Spirit. If Jesus intended ministry to be a DIY project, He would not have given the Holy Spirit.
We must regularly express our dependence upon the Holy Spirit, especially in study and preparation for Youth Group, counseling, meetings, etc. The Holy Spirit can give in 6 seconds the insight and direction that would have taken 6 hours on your own. He can give perfect words in the moment that you hadn’t previously read, heard, or prepared. Are we depending on Him to do such work?
I can testify, He is faithful! NEVER – in 5 years of doing youth ministry (the past 3 years being weekly expository preaching) - have I ever arrived to the start of youth group unprepared. God has ALWAYS been faithful to give me words. Admittedly, I’ve often felt underprepared from a delivery standpoint, but I’ve never been unprepared and speechless.
The Holy Spirit at Youth Group
I think the single most important passage from this section is John 16:8 “… he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” As we effort to faithfully preach the Gospel and see sinners saved, the Holy Spirit is working in our hearts by opening our blinded eyes to our need for a savior. We can’t convict student’s hearts. We can’t make them run to Jesus as their treasure. But the Holy Spirit can! Are we depending on Him to do this work?
One of the greatest challenges for me each week is to apply the message to the heart. I aim to teach insightful, relevant, and specific ways that the text intersects with their lives. But let’s face it: None of us can comprehensively apply a passage to the lives of all who hear. But the Holy Spirit can! Are we depending on Him to do this work?
Depending on the Holy Spirit
When I’m discouraged by low attendance, irritated when students aren’t listening to my message, worrying that the few remaining hours are insufficient to finish sermon prep, and failing to consistently pray throughout my day, I’m not depending on the Holy Spirit.
In a culture where DIY projects are praised, and independence and self-sufficiency is esteemed, we ought to model for our students how to avoid self-reliance and how to depend on the Holy Spirit. For example when we pray before our messages, let’s recognize the Spirit's constant presence, and ask him to be the teacher, to give us words to say, and our students ears to hear.
As Youth Ministers, we are weak. But the Holy Spirit is our ever-present strength for all God has called us to. Let’s regularly pray, and ask for help. Let’s show our Youth through our neediness that the Holy Spirit is all-sufficient. Let’s with Paul depend upon the Holy Spirit and have his attitude from 2 Corinthians 12:9…
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
May the Holy Spirit comprehensively apply this post to our lives and ministries. Because while I can’t, He can!