Try not to blink, because the kids in our church seem to be growing up faster than ever. Before the world around them indoctrinates them with what it means to be great in our culture, take time to come up with creative ways to teach them that true greatness is found in something entirely different.
Ministry Opportunities For Your Growing Youth
“It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant.”
Matthew 20:26 ESV
Even from the earliest of ages, the same desire is within all of us; “I want to become great.”
The youth of today are no different than the kids that we grew up with in our neighborhoods when we were young. Some want to become the strongest, others the fastest. Some want to become the prettiest or the most popular while others seek to become the funniest or the most intelligent. The commonality in all of these differing goals is that no one wants to be average. Instead, everyone wants to be exceptional. Everyone wants to become great.
So what must someone do to become great? What does the spirit of our age have to say about such matters? The world has a recipe for greatness, though it is wildly different than God’s recipe. While popular culture applauds those who accumulate wealth and influence or those who find a way to adorn every aspect of their lives with luxury, Jesus measures greatness by an entirely different standard.
Such a concept is foreign to most of the youth in our churches. Without hardly noticing it, it’s easy to subconsciously train the children in our churches that going to church has more to do with receiving from others than giving to others. We tailor programs to teach them about Jesus, but might not provide them enough opportunities to learn how to serve themselves. So if Christian servanthood is what it takes to do great things for Jesus and be great in His eyes, in what ways can we foster a spirit of servanthood within our children?
Certainly a good deal of this nurturing and instruction occurs within the home itself. However, in addition to what happens with mom and dad, the local church ought to take time to come up with an intentional plan that provides creative ways for young people to get involved in ministries where they can learn to give outside of their more regular receiving times.
Young children might begin to learn about servanthood at your church by washing out communion cups or picking up bulletins that are left underneath chairs after Sunday service concludes. Those who are a bit older might like to stand beside mom and dad and help them greet those who enter in the front doors or show up early to a summer outdoor baptism to help set up the games and refreshments that might need preparing.
It’s imperative that churches really get creative with the opportunities that they present to their youth, particularly as they enter into young adulthood. Many young people might feel that since they aren’t confident enough to help teach a class or aren’t gifted in a particular way to participate on the worship team schedule, that they don’t really have a place to serve within the body. In these cases, one of the greatest areas of opportunity might come in the realm of the technology at your church.
Think about it, it’s likely that no one is more up-to-date and naturally skilled at using the technology of the day than the teenagers within your churches. Whether there’s a need for someone to help run your social media accounts or for an extra volunteer to step up to operate your soundboard, lighting, or presentation software, you’d be surprised by the amount of young people who would love to help. They might be even more excited to help out with a new ministry that you might be rolling out, such as operating a camera or managing your Sunday live video stream.
At the end of the day, every one of the youth in our churches wants to become great and do great things with their lives. Find creative ways to teach them that true greatness is never found in personal success and stature, but in Christian servanthood, just like Jesus said. Oh what a joy it would be to hear the young people in our churches say, “I want to become great. That’s why I want to find a way to always be a servant.”
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Brett Bzdafka is a former Pastor and Bible Professor, Brett has a BA from the Moody Bible Institute and MDiv from Columbia International University. As Church Development Manager at BoxCast, a live video streaming company founded and led by believers, Brett enjoys connecting with church leaders and enabling them to spread their ministry beyond the walls of their church through technology.