This has been one great week! I am preaching revival services here at Southeast Baptist Tabernacle in Indianapolis IN. It has been a full week. The church has served a full meal every evening at 6; we have had a revival service at 7; and immediately following that the youth pastor and summer interns have conducted a teen event called Cola Wars. It has been a very successful week. I could write about the men who have responded. I could write about the music. I could write about Pastor Ray and his leadership. I could write about the way the church has received and responded to God’s Word. One of the major events of the week, however, has been the youth group’s participation in the services. Each night we have seen 40-50 teens sit through two preaching services. Many of them have responded in the invitations and four of them have professed faith in Christ. Here are some “take-aways” from this week’s youth ministry.
- Nothing is happening by accident.
It is very obvious that a ton of work has gone into reaching teens. That takes a lot of prayer. It takes a lot of visitation. There is major effort to work with entire families to support them as they are raising their children. Workers have been recruited and are very involved and serving happily. The teens are begin taught to move beyond their particular “comfort group” and to be unified. This is not an extension of a Christian school clique that spills over into another get-together on the school property. It is an on-purpose mixture of Christian School and homeschool and public school teens all combined into one! And it is amazing to see.
- The youth ministry is community-minded.
The youth pastor is involved in ministering to teens in every setting. He coaches in a local public school and has recently been able to begin a chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He is known by students and parents throughout the community. He visits and counsels his homeschoolers and makes himself available to their parents. He and I even met with and offered some counsel to one of his homeschool dad’s this week. He supports and sends his own kids to a Christian school. I have appreciated the fact that this church and this youth pastor are reaching teens in every possible way.
- It. Is. Messy.
All youth work is messy and sometimes today’s teens have more issues than we know how to handle. I have talked with a teen this week about Same Sex Attraction. I know one of the young men is recovering from an abusive situation. Two of the teens have lost their mother, have a distant and angry dad, and live with a dysfunctional and bitter grandfather. One has a mom in prison. The list never ends. And yet, the church keeps loving them and supporting them and including them and praying for them. Some wear shorts to church. Some wear a tie. Some girls wear skirts and others wear jeans. No doubt about it — it is messy!
- It can be done.
Southeast Baptist Tabernacle is proving that youth work can be done and done well. We can have a diversified youth group. We can teach our Christian School kids to include, minister, and serve with those from the public schools and from the homeschools. We can combine our homeschoolers with our public schoolers and with those in the Christian school. We can see teens saved. It takes work. It takes prayer. And it makes a difference!
- It works.
Southeast Baptist is a traditional and conservative Independent Baptist Church and yet we have had 40-50 teens come every night to hear two different messages. They have listened intently while I have preached and have responded in every service. They have sad quietly and received God’s Word. They have responded. And they are growing and following Jesus. It works!
I have been thrilled by the blessings of this week! Can I encourage you youth pastors to go all out? Take your youth group beyond an extension of your Christian School or homeschool clique. Get to know your local public school leaders and teens and win them to Christ. Can I encourage you pastors and churches to love teens and be patient with them and allow a youth pastor to “bring them in?” Let’s go all out and impact this messed up and needy generation!
Thanks for reading,
Your sincere friend,