Finding a way to be fruitful in ministry with God pt. 1

There are many volunteer ministers and bi-vocational ministers that might identify with my experiences. While working as a youth pastor and working another job, I was continually left asking myself how do the other guys and gals get teenagers to come? How does everyone else connect with teenagers? I asked these questions because nothing was happening for a long time. However, I should tell you that my wife and I were able to answer these questions later, and that we ended up with a fruitful ministry. Until this point, I felt like a failure and that may be God did not call me to do ministry. If you are in ministry and think like this, don’t believe it! It took about 4 years to get to a point that  I thought a successful youth ministry should look like. I have been thinking about how we went from point A to point B lately so here it is. One reason for later success was that I hung in there. There are times in our lives when we just have to be stubborn and/or tenacious. On one particular youth night, I was the only one in the youth room for 40 minutes! Finally, one teenager came in. Boy, he really got preached too; just kidding.  When something like this happens, we should seek God in prayer; but we also must LISTEN. One reason that may have led to one teen showing up that night was that I was focused, up to that point, on doing all sorts of different ministries in the church. My attention was divided in several different directions. This meant that I was not productive in any those ministries. I needed to realize that I was not the Savior, there is One better qualified for that job named Jesus. I felt that God revealed to me that if I was going to be His servant that I should focus upon being the best that I could be. Notice, I did not say being the best, but the best that I could be. In other words, reaching my potential. I must point out that I wanted to use the excuse that nobody was helping me and nobody showed me how to do it. After I went through those emotions and agonizing times of complaining, I began to read books on how to do youth ministry. Guess what? Most of those books were for people who actually had a budget. Instead, I began to read books on how to care for teenagers. Thank God for Josh McDowell. The Lord led me to “Disconnected Generation,” and instead of finding out how to raise money, God showed me how to raise teenagers up spiritually and emotionally. When you are ready to quit, God will step in if you allow Him. He will salvage a ministry when you are broken. We can remain busy doing, doing, and doing. We can find many how-to books. We can find a lot of programs. We can raise money; but it won’t work until we practice loving and caring the way God has called us to do. I will post more later on this subject.

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