Ever had a ring or something valuable fall out of your hand and go sliding down the sink towards the drain? You try to snag it with your hand but miss and even make a few attempts before it’s too late. The ring goes sliding down the drain. It’s a helpless feeling.
Same thing can happen to us in youth ministry. I’ve seen times of plenty and times of scarcity. Times when our little youth room was packed and times when we gather together and scratch your head trying to figure out where have the students gone?
It is a helpless feeling because you are watching it go down the drain and you are making attempts to stop it from happening but the attempts fail.
So you evaluate.
Are we teaching God’s word in a way that students find it relevant and practical to their daily lives? Yes.
Do we have a team of caring adults investing into their lives? Yes.
Is our meeting space attractive and appealing to students? Yes.
Are we clearly communicating our vision and purpose? Yes
Are we communicating with parents? Yes
Is the food awesome? Heck yea!
Do you include time for students to build relationships? Yes.
Have you created a place/atmosphere that students can enjoy? Yes.
The above are things that we as youth ministers can control.
What we can’t control as youth ministers:
The support of parents.
The parents making Student Church a priority.
Students making their youth group time a priority in their lives.
Students bringing friends.
Students making guests feel welcome
But don’t pull your hair out! Don’t get depressed! Why?
If we do our best that’s all we can do but more importantly listen to these words from our Savior:
Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it." Matthew 16:18
We are to be faithful and do what God has called us to do. The rest is in his hands.
Focus on the students he has given you. Perhaps this is a season where the focus of the youth ministry is turning to something different to help build a stronger base or foundation for what is to come in the future.
All youth ministries go through cycles. It’s natural. I’ve heard youth pastors say, “All I seem to have is middle schoolers”, then a couple years later, “All I seem to have is high schoolers.” You can’t explain these things. Right now we have more middle school boys than girls. How does that happen? It’s usually the other way around right?
We can do events that bring in the numbers but in the long run most of those numbers won’t stick around, won’t follow. There is a smaller number that you are truly discipling. So go for it with all you’ve got!
The point of this whole post is this:
Focus on who God has given you.
Be responsible in teaching and equipping them to grow and to reach their peers.
Realize that you can make conditions conducive to growth but you can't force growth.
Let Jesus take care of the growth.