Each week we’ll be writing about different ways that we, as leaders, can effectively be examples to our students, and we’ll discuss different topics to talk over with our students. These topics range from relationships to being active in a small group. All of these topics are nuggets every leader can apply to his or her life. It’s our hope that you’ll check back to see what next week’s topic is, and that you can apply what we’ve learned in your own life as a fellow volunteer youth worker.
“I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you.” Genesis 17:7
Today’s blog topic is: Okay, I did what you said, it didn’t work…now what?
So you have been a faithful follower of the Generation to Generation blog posts, you tried some of our suggestions but it didn’t work, and now you’re even more frustrated. What do you do now? Don’t give up and don’t back down! Steven and Matt offer some suggestions for what to do when everything else fails.
Steven: If you get anything out of our post today, it’s this: never, ever give up. There are too many students counting on you to spread the love of Jesus, and there are more things you can do to make things work. Youth ministry is not foolproof. Ever. There are some nights I meet with my junior high small group, spend an hour and a half with them, and think to myself, “Self, I don’t think I want to do this anymore. I’m just not getting anywhere with these guys.” It’s so easy to take the easy way out and just give up. That’s usually when God steps in.
God tends to work overtime when he sees that things aren’t going right. Just when you think you’ve come to a point where you can’t go on, God steps in and gives you something awesome to work with. Last week, even though we had three guys missing, they were so rowdy and distracted that it seemed like we got nothing done. It’s nights like those that it’s easy to get frustrated and disappointed, but this week God worked overtime. We had a full group of 12 guys, yet they were more focused and in-tune with the discussion, and it was probably one of the best small group times I’ve ever led. It’s nights like those that keep us coming back for more.
The bottom line is, don’t give up. There are three practical steps you can take to make things better when you’re feeling down about your youth group:
? Pray. Before this week’s small group, I prayed over and over that the group wouldn’t be distracted and that they would be into the discussion. Let God know what your concerns are with your youth group.
? Evaluate. Is there something I’m doing that is stopping the group from growing? Is there something I can do to get my group back on track? Who can I talk to that may have had a similar problem?
? Wait. Many times things don’t happen right away. Just like everything else in life, there are natural lulls in youth ministry. Don’t let that discourage you.
Matt: First things first, I stop and try and figure out what happened, what went wrong and if I failed, how can I go to “plan b” on the fly. As we mentioned last week, sometimes you just have to let go and let God take the wheel. Only one can steer a car at the same time, with two trying to steer you just get pulled in different directions.
The next thing you need to do is pray. Pray for God’s help with that one student that just doesn’t seem to get it, or doesn’t want to be there. Pray that He will give you clarity when you teach so that your lessons are clear and concise and not confusing to students. Are you talking at your level or at the student’s level? Sometimes when it feels like we have failed, what we don’t realize is that although we might not have achieved today what we wanted, we may have planted a seed. That seed just needs to be watered and cultivated over time. It’s an amazing sight when you see a student decide to choose Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and begin living a Christian life. It affects every decision they make.
Talk to other leaders, see what they are doing. Don’t be afraid to admit what you are trying is not working. Get their advice, direction, and prayer for your ministry. Last but not least, remember these times when you feel like nothing is working. One day someone will be asking for your help, remember what you did and mentor that next generation of leaders. Passing on how you corrected your missteps and mistakes will insure that we continue sharing the love of Jesus from generation to generation.