(Welcome to our youth staff meeting. For more info about the 5 Essentials click here.)
1 Thessalonians 2:8
We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.
In this passage, Paul shares with us his heart toward the church at Thessalonica. Paul loved the people so much that he shared both his life and the gospel with the people. I pray that we too can have this same love for the students Jesus has called us to serve. May we too share both the gospel and our lives. To truly share our lives with students we must spend time with them beyond our youth services. We must spend time on their turf.
The principle of time on their turf is simple. The ultimate relevance is relationship. We are going to do our best to have the most welcoming and excellent student enviornments here at the church. However, we must be like Paul, we must share life with the students. Our ministry must extend beyond what heppens on Wednesdays and Sundays.
When we spend time on the turf of a student we connect with them outside the church enviornment. This could be attending an event at their school or attending a birthday party. This could be meeting them at T-Bell or hosting an X-Box night.
Spending time on their turf is powerful.
1. Time on Their Turf Changes Students:
There are some students that I would never have influence with unless I spent time on their turf. It is amazing how some students respond in church enviornments after I have spent some time on their turf. In these times we become real to them. It is one thing for us to be in front of them teaching on Wednesday nights, and it is another thing for them to know who we are on a personal level. Also, when we spend time on their turf students have a chance to ask us real questions about their life and faith. We, in turn, also have the opportunity to ask them about their faith and relationships. It makes all the difference.
2. Time on Their Turf Changes You:
Just as much as spending time on a student's turf changes them, it changes us too. Spending time with students causes me to have compassion. I see their stories. I hear the things that they are dealing with and my heart goes out to them. Burden is a byproduct of exposure. If you do not have a burden for students, you probably need to spend more time on their turf. Time on their turf causes me to have faith for the future. When I spend time with students I see their potential in Christ. It is easy to believe in students when you spend time with them because you are able to clealy see the fingerprint of God on their lives. Time on their turf makes us more effective because we know those that we serve. Ministry becomes personal when we spend time on their turf.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Share everyday life - You do not have to have a big event to spend time with students. Simply involve them in your daily life. Look at your schedule this week and see if there is any thing you are doing that you could ask a couple students to tag along with you. Are you going to the mall or to the grocery? Involve students in your everyday life.
- Establish boundries - Sharing life with students does not mean that you spend time with them 24/7. If you do we may need to get you a straitjacket for your birthday. You must establish boundries to make sure spending time with students does not encroach on your time with family and other priorities. Also, you must establish boundries to you don't allow time with students to replace your time with God. We can't allow our work for God to replace our walk with God. You cannot give someone what you do not have.
- Two final principles - When we spend time with students outside of church we must have the permission of the parents. Make sure you communicate with the parents of the students that you are spending time with. Don't let the parents hear it from the students. Talk to them and ask their permission. We are called to partner with parents (Another essential we will talk about in another meeting). Also, guys do not need to spend time alone with girl students and neither do ladies need to spend time alone with our guy students. These are boundries that are non negotiable.
Each of you do a great job at spending time on the turf of students. I am encouraged as I hear the stories week after week of the impact that you are having. May we continue to share both the gospel and our very lives with these students for the glory of God!