What have you been doing during Advent? It’s a busy time, isn’t it? It’s busy as you seek to find meaningful ways to convey the waiting and the beauty of expectancy of this time, leading up to the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. For some there are the many rehearsals to get everything ready and right for the Christmas program. Each Sunday of Advent, there is the lighting of the candles. In many instances, the young are involved as they participate in this lighting with their families. Yes. It’s Advent and as the candles are lit you are reminded of the themes of hope, peace, joy, and love. They offer much, including important youth ministry tips.
Youth Ministry Tips #1—Hope
Youth ministry is one of those unpredictable things. Why? For starters, you are dealing with human beings. Honestly, aren’t you a bit unpredictable yourself?
Moreover, you’re working with people who are in a transitional stage of life—youth. All this makes it exciting. However, this can also make it frustrating. You can serve faithfully, be the most creative person, and yet it seems as if nothing is working; nothing is happening. That’s where hope comes in.
Hope. It can be bittersweet, but it is essential. It keeps you going for with it you see possibilities beyond who and where you are in order to be more and do more. However, it’s more than that. Hope is foundational to your faith:
For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience (Romans 8:24-25).
And so, even as you were saved and live is hope, so you labor in hope. You labor remembering that it is God who gives growth (1 Corinthians 3:7). This leads to the next of the four youth ministry tips.
Youth Ministry Tips #2—Peace
Hope leads you to peace. When you live and minister out of hope, you can be at peace about what you do. You are steadfastly trusting God for the outcome. Your role is to do what God wants. Thus, you work, and you pray. You pray for yourself, that you would be faithful to God’s call and doing. You pray for the youth, that they would commit their lives to God in Jesus Christ and do as God bids. You pray for the church of which you are a part. Then you give thanks and release everything to God:
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).
With God’s peace in your heart, you can be joyful. It’s time to go to number three of your youth ministry tips.
Youth Ministry Tips #3—Joy
We focus a lot on joy during Advent and at Christmas, don’t we? Yet, joy is something you can have and should have throughout the year. Just imagine. God has entrusted you with precious lambs. Feed them with joy. More than that, you are working with God and God’s people (1 Corinthians 3:9). What a privilege! That’s joy.
This joy is deep within. It does not depend on what is happening or not happening on the surface with the young people, with the church, or in your life. You are living in hope, knowing that God is working. You are thankful and living in peace. Thus, regardless of what goes on around you, you cultivate a joyful attitude that is dependent on God and God’s doing.
This joy does not ignore your reality. It lives in it, but transcends it because it comes from within. A joyful spirit is infectious. Be joyful. Rejoice:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near (Philippians 4:4-5).
You’re now ready for number four of these youth ministry tips—love.
Youth Ministry Tips #4—Love
Be a youth ministry leader who follows Jesus Christ and lives in love:
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:1-2).
This is sacrificial love. It means serving without resentment. It means going the extra mile, as you already do, with joy. It also means continually drawing from God’s love by maintaining a close relationship with God through Bible reading, prayer, and fellowship.
Youth ministry is a wonderful privilege. When done for God and according to what God wants, it is hope, peace, joy, and love, mirroring the great Advent themes, empowering you to go the distance. What wonderful youth ministry tips from Advent.
(I apologize for the truncated post last week. Please find the full post here.)
Living fully. Living faithfully. Following Christ.
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