In the old Frankenstein movies, even after the creature was completely assembled by Dr. Frankenstein it needed a jolt of energy from a lightning bolt captured from the storm raging outside. Here are three of my top lightning bolts that every youth ministry should be passing on to our students.
1) You are a precious son or daughter of God.
I still remember junior high and high school and all the anxiety that goes along with that time of life. Perhaps the very most important lesson to learn is that each of our youth is beloved.
A few years ago, my daughter Alison’s roommate prepared a surprise for her birthday. She contacted family and friends and asked us to write notes about why we loved Alison. There were many of the typical replies which were uplifting and encouraging for Alison. As I thought about what to write I realized I could not help but love her. To say my love was tied to the work she does with children or the homeless or any other thing would be to imply that at some time I would not love her. That simply is not true. I am convinced God looks at each of us in the same way. What will, what can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ? (Check out Roman 8:35-39)
2) There is not a person alive who has not experienced the grace of God.
Our Wesleyan understanding of grace is important and it is different. God’s grace fingerprints are on each and every one of us through prevenient grace. Every good thing is of God. No one is capable of thinking any good, choosing any good, or doing any good without God first accomplishing a measure of healing and restoration of his image in us.
This one aspect of prevenient grace cannot be refused and each of us received it before we were in any way capable of “earning” it (not that grace can be earned). So not only the youth in your group, but the brother or sister, mother or father, aunt or uncle that never darkens the doorway of the church, each has been touched by God personally and individually, none have been forgotten.
3) God is able to accomplish infinitely more than we can do or think.
Christian groups whether they be adults or youth have a tendency to forget who is in charge. Too often we hear the voice of the enemy saying, “You’re too young, what do you know, you have no money, what can you possibly do?” God does not ask what our talents, gifts, expertise, abilities are. God has one question, “Are you in or out?” Think of all the unlikely characters in the Bible that should not have amounted to anything or accomplished anything. “This is what the LORD says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.” (Zech 4:6)
What’s on your list? What have these thoughts stimulated? Share your ideas below and let us enjoy this journey together.