what’s the feel of your youth ministry?

here’s an across the grain thought: the ‘feel’ of your youth ministry should be that it’s a place of rest.

So often, our youth ministries are more accurately considered “places of expectations” or “places of busy-ness”. But what a great gift you give your students when you make your youth ministry (at least sometimes) a “place of rest”!

This isn’t about offering nap time! It’s about creating a safe place for students to let down their guard and relax. It’s about fostering an environment that isn’t always about being busy. It’s about holding up slowness and rest and quiet as powerful spiritual values with huge results in our lives.

This is counter-cultural stuff in most of our churches, where we’ve bought into the cultural value (this isn’t from scripture!) of busy-ness being spiritual. How many times have you heard someone in the church talk about how busy they are, because of their ministry involvements, with the implication that this is a good thing. I don’t think Jesus thinks over-commitment and busy-ness are good things. In fact, Jesus seems to think just the opposite! Slow down. Teach your students how to slow down. Learn to live in the (initially awkward) space of quiet, and make that a regular part of your youth ministry. Sure, it’s great to play hard, have feisty discussions, and be involved in a passionate pursuit of serving others. But teaching about and providing a space for rest is equally important!

9 thoughts on “what’s the feel of your youth ministry?”

  1. Marko, thanks for being a counter-cultural voice! More folks need to hear this message even if it’s not popular. stay awesome broseph

  2. With how busy students are with school and sports and other activities, combined with biological need teenagers have for more sleep, maybe a holy “nap time” actually isn’t a bad idea! :)

  3. i love this. We just got back from camp this weekend and in talking over the week, realized that we’d provided them a place to rest and heal. They were busy, for sure, running crazy and not getting enough sleep. But they got to take a break from life and spend some time looking at their lives and relationships and kind of reassess where they are and how they are handling the rough stuff in their lives. We don’t push decisions or big emotional experiences, but hopefully rest and healing in the middle of the chaos of life will lead to them viewing their faith and church as a place for those things as adults.

  4. From time to time, when we can tell everyone is worn out from being busy, we do spiritual naptime by using The Centering Prayer to bring them to a place of rest. It is great for everyone involved including me!

  5. This reminds me of something a friend asked me once. “What do you fill the room with?” He meant it as a question of what we bring into an environment with our presence, but I think it is equally useful here.

    The mettle of youth ministry, though, consists of what each young adult brings into the room as well.

    Thanks Marko.

  6. The cool thing is that in the OT the concept of peace and rest often went together, because peace enables rest. The Prince of Peace is present and invites our students to rest in his grace, not having to perform, but simply be.

  7. I couldn’t agree more…and this is such a different approach than the way many of us were taught to lead youth ministries, crammed with activity, noise, excitement, Extreme events, and constant distraction as a way to keep teens engaged. They get plenty of that in their daily lives. What we can offer is a place to come and listen for the still small voice of God.

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