Do I Have The Right Goal In Mind?
I came across this quote the other day, and it has made me think a lot since.
“Programs don’t change people, God does.” (Maximum Faith, Barna, pg. 190)
It has made me think a lot because a good chunk of my week is spent on making programs happen. We made some major changes to our youth ministry this fall, and over half of them were about our programs. I realize how much the success of your youth ministry is tied to our programs, not just by me but by most people in our church as well.
This quote also is a shock to my own ego, because it reminds me that the change I desire to see in students I have no control over. I can work hard and convince (or beg) students to change their behavior, but I can’t make them fall in love with God. The hard truth that we sometimes forget as youth workers, or even as Christians, is that I can’t save anyone. It has to be between them and God.
Jesus defines salvation for us in John 17:3 when he says “now this is eternal life; that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
I can do everything in my power to introduce them to God. I can encourage them. I can lead by example and let them see my love for God. I can use programs as a tool or an aid in all this. But ultimately I can’t make them fall in love with God. The change they need in their life I can’t do for them, only God can.
I have to be reminded from time to time of this truth. If I am doing everything God has asked me to do as a youth worker, then the ultimate “success” of this youth ministry is outside my control. If I am not reminded of this, then I tend to carry too much of the burden, and focus more on the “success” I can control instead of the success God wants.
How have you defined success? Do you and God agree? What burden are you carrying that was never yours to carry?