Ps Isaiah Simmons is the Youth Pastor at Public Church on the Gold Coast, Queensland. His Pastors are Ps Cam and Renee Bennett the National Leaders of Youth alive. He has been in Youth Ministry for over 7 years and has built significant youth ministries in Australia.
Keep the main thing, the main thing…
“Now wherever you go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
Matthew 28:19 TPT
One of the most important things we have to understand is our responsibility to MAKE disciples. I heard someone say once that disciples aren’t found, they’re made. I was thinking about youth ministry, students, Friday nights and in the back of my mind I was like YEP that is 100% correct haha.
I’ve never found a student that was a ready made disciple! Students require love, time, energy and consistency. Jesus modelled this unbelievably well with his disciples. He spent three years leading them, loving them, training them and ultimately making them into faithfilled disciples.
In my years of youth ministry I’ve found that sometimes we can miss the point (youth pastors/leaders). Unintentionally of course. We don’t go out wanting to do things back to front, but unfortunately with our own pressures sometimes, insecurity and striving we can make the least important thing the most important thing and forget what we are actually called to do.
Here’s some points around making faithfilled disciples and keeping the main thing the main thing.
Literally, I remember most Friday nights all I was thinking about was how can I make the program more lit, engaging and attract more of a crowd. This was the first few years of me running a youth ministry. I realised though, if students are coming because of an event, they’ll also leave because of an event. What I mean by that is if it’s about our events, eventually they’ll find a better one. I felt so free when I realised the MVP of my event is the Holy Spirit. Not just at the altar calls but also in our leaders, imparting faith and speaking life. This is what builds your ministry. This is foundational before anything else. I remember in my previous youth group we went from 30 kids to over 260 and NONE of this was because of our event. We had a minimal budget, actually we didn’t even have a ‘term budget’ . It was midweek connect groups (discipleship), building atmospheres of faith on Friday nights and consistently loving on teenagers which resulted in seeing this growth.
Build the right Big
I also realised that big events don’t necessarily build big people. I wanted to build an event where hundreds would come. Remember these are GOOD intentions but I also realised I had it the wrong way round. Instead, imagine if we built big people that hundreds would follow! You wouldn’t be able to fit the amount of students in your building. This inspired me to continue to make faith filled disciples. Jesus made disciples that literally flipped the world around. What are we imparting and leaving for the next generation. Youth pastors, is your focus building a big event? Or is it building big leaders? Youth leaders is your focus building a big connect, squad or crew? Or is it building big students? These types of questions help keep us focused on keeping the main thing the main thing.
Pretty straight forward point, but one worth considering. We have to continually remind ourselves that we are co labours with the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:9) and ultimately HE brings increase (1 Corinthians 3:6). Let’s chill out and be faithful with what God has given us and that’s students and leaders. If you have 30 students, love the hell out of them (literally), if you have 10 students love them all, if you have hundreds of students love your leaders and your students and continually impart faith and encouragement to make faith filled disciples!