My 5 Star Lesson In Youth Ministry
I was fascinated this year by the Super Bowl. Yes, the game was underwhelming and even boring to watch. Yet, what drew me in was the rosters. In college we are obsessed by recruiting rankings. How many stars are assigned to a player? 5 stars are given to the highest ranked players. Where does my university rank in comparison to others in our conference? We label student athletes on how we expect for them to perform at the next level. So how does that translate into the NFL at the biggest game of the year? According to the recruiting service 247Sports Composite, the average star rating in the Super Bowl was 3.2. There were only 6, “5 star” recruits in the big game. That’s compared to 11 players who were unranked coming out of High School. In the biggest game of the year at the highest level, players greatly exceeded what was expected out of them from high school. Why? Because they had the desire to succeed despite what others said about them.
One of the biggest things that I’ve learned in youth ministry is something that I’ve honestly known all along, but can often forget. A heart connected with God is most important. I’ve worked for 14 years training and discipling students. We try to help them by giving them tools that will help them as they grow. We’ve seen students that can deliver great sermons. We’ve watched students lead other students in powerful service projects. We’ve witnessed students share the gospel and baptize other students. We’ve seen students that are so passionate as they lead worship. As they graduate out of the student ministry we can see some of them start to drift in their faith. Some students even walk away from God completely. We also see others excel and become forces in the kingdom. They become incredible ambassadors for Christ. It’s interesting to watch and look back on what has shaped these students. We can look at them as they mature in the student ministry and think “this student is going to be an amazing leader for Christ. Look at all the things that he/she does!”. These things can distract us from what’s most important.
Solomon sums up this lesson very accurately in Proverbs 4:23. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything flows from it.” Above any ministry tools, projects, lessons, our heart must be protected. We don’t have the ability to predict the future faith of a student. Those choices aren’t up to us. However, we do have the ability to coach them on what’s most important. I can easily become distracted and believe that the external things we do as a student ministry are more important. Instead, I’m continually reminded that the most important part of a student’s life is that their heart connected is with God.
My prayer for all parents, volunteers, and leaders is for us to help students understand the importance of their hearts. May we follow the prayer of David in Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.