What Takes Student Ministry to “the Next Level”?

Tonight was the first meeting with the adults helping lead in our Student Ministry.  After 26 years in Student Ministry, serving both as a part-time volunteer myself as well as the full-time “point man”, and after doing many things that worked and many that didn’t, I can’t even imagine doing Student Ministry without a team of adults that love God and love teens.  I’m sure it can be done, but having adult leaders who “get it”, and understand what it is to invest in the lives of students, can exponentially multiply the effectiveness of any Student Ministry.

In every church I’ve served in, I’ve been so blessed to have just such a team of adults.  And now, it’s exciting to see God putting it all together again here at the beginning of our time here at Sharon, and I’m eagerly anticipating what He’s going to do through them, for His glory.

I’m Encouraging Intolerance On This

In Proverbs 6:16-19, there is a list of 7 things that God hates, and 3 of them deal directly with speech:

16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.

There are some things that simply must not be tolerated, both in the life of the believer and in the church body.  Sins willfully committed against each other with words are on that list.  We are setting a new standard of intolerance for this kind of behavior in our group.  The goal is to make our Student Ministry a place where verbal abuse of each other is not welcomed, and where people who are prone to this cannot find anyone to listen to them or participate in it.

Most everyone would say they’ve been a victim of gossip, but hardly anyone ever thinks that they are a gossip.  Nobody likes drama, yet some are always in the middle of it.  This affects everyone in the group at one time or another, and will only be overcome by fighting it together.  It’s not someone else’s responsibility – “It Stops With Me”.

1. If this is not a problem for you, you can help fight it; in fact, nothing will change much if you do not.  The best tactic, when someone starts to involve you in their sin of gossip, is to just walk away.  Even if you don’t repeat it again, by listening you are part of the problem.

2. If you do have trouble controlling your tongue, you need to repent, get right with God and those you’ve hurt, and stop.  If you’re really brave, ask your close friends to call you out if they hear you starting to do it again.

3. If you like spreading gossip and lies about others, and have no desire or plan to stop, then you need to understand that your behavior is no longer welcome.  We will do anything we can to help you overcome this wicked sin, but you will no longer have a place where you can practice it without consequences.  Our goal is to create a spirit of unity and peace that will make you unable to continue spreading your poison as a part of our group.

If someone walked in and started slashing people with a knife, we would do whatever is necessary to stop them.  We can no longer simply sit by and allow people to do the same thing with their words.

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

The Danger of Drifting

I preached tonight on the Danger of Drifting, taking Hebrews 2:1-3  as my text and using the example of Lot.  Once we are saved, we can never again be lost.  Our standing with God is eternally secure, because it depends solely on the righteousness of Christ imputed to us.  However, our fellowship with God can diminish, and if it does, it is because we have drifted from walking close to Him.

Drifting is slow; it happens one small compromise at a time.  Drifting is also easy; you don’t have to work to drift.  In fact, the easiest way to drift is to just do nothing.  Don’t pursue Christ, don’t follow hard after Him – just do nothing.

Drifting is also costly, as Lot discovered.  At one time, he was blessed so abundantly that he had to separate from his uncle, Abram, because the land could not support both of them.  He went from this to barely escaping the wrath of God on Sodom with just himself, his wife and two daughters – and lost his wife to his lack of influence and her disobedience.

We drift because we have chosen to pursue other things for our joy and contentment, and move away from the One Who is Himself pure joy.  These other things we tend to run after may be good, positive things; the problem is, they can never be the best thing, which is Christ. To look to anyone or anything other than Him is foolish, hopeless, and always carries the promise of disappointment, and if we refuse to repent, can even bring destruction.

How do we keep from drifting?  Know God’s Word, and live in obedience to it.  An anchored ship does not drift; in the same way, we must anchor our lives to God’s Word, living by it’s principles and precepts.  It is the only way to keep from drifting.