I have written several times already about my quest toward promoting spiritual transformation and not just conforming to a Jesus standard. It was the 10 transformation stops as presented by George Barna that first got me thinking this way, and God has continued to open my eyes and heart to new ways of doing youth ministry.
I encourage you to go back and read a few earlier posts if you missed them: Conform or Transform gives a scriptural basis and Conform or Transform 2 describes one my biggest program experiments with helping students toward transformation.
I talked today with a great friend and fellow youth worker about his weekend retreat. Last weekend he “borrowed” my ideas, adapted them to his group, and took the same risk with his retreat as I did with mine. God worked in similar ways, and just as awesome ways within his group as He did in mine.
Last night at our regular mid-week youth program, we did something out of the norm for us, and once again trusted God to show up and do work only He could do. Once again God showed up in amazing ways as students and adult leaders nailed stuff to a cross they needed to leave with Jesus so they could be healed.
As I see this new wind blowing within myself and within youth ministry there are a few things I have noticed about myself and the ministry God has asked me to lead.
1. It is hard for me to not program every minute
One of the things I have been challenged to do is to do my role and then get out of the way; if I am talking the whole time there is no chance for God to speak. My friend and I both had the same struggle with our retreats–that we didn’t speak every time we could have. But since we didn’t, God did.
2. I make things more complicated than they need to be
During a study series on the Holy Spirit Jim Cymbala talked about how we can hinder the Holy Spirit by doing too much within our programming. He also mentioned how one of their most powerful programs they run at the Brooklyn Tabernacle is Tuesday night prayer meeting which involves nothing but gathering and praying. I have thought about this concept a lot, and because of #1 I know I am guilty of this.
3. These ideas really aren’t new
Much of what I feel like are “program risks” today are things I did by accident when I was just starting out in youth ministry. Yes, I am doing them a bit more on purpose and with stronger reasons now, but I have done many of these things before several years ago. I would like to think my pride and ego had nothing to do with me complicating these simple ideas in the first place…but…yeah…
Revelation 2:3-5 (NIV) 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first
As I continue to read and pray and grow as a leader my hope is you can continue to do the same right along with me. I most definitely don’t have much of this figured out, but I hope we can learn together. What is God showing you about Spiritual transformation and how we can help God do it?