The burden of communicating

I was having a conversation over lunch with a friend last week and we were talking about communicating the truth of the Bible to teenagers.  Both of us have been or currently are youth pastors, so this topic is of big interest to us.  We both concluded that, in our experience growing up, we couldn’t remember ONE talk that our youth pastors or pastors gave.  I’m sure I heard HUNDREDS of sermons growing up, but I remember nothing that was said.  We did, however, conclude that what we remembered most was how our youth pastors were present in our lives.  It’s something that Bo Boshers of Willow Creek calls “The BE-WITH factor.”  And while that is true, we also concluded that we are the minority.  A youth pastor cannot BE WITH every student.  Especially if you have a youth ministry of more than 10-15 students.  {Even Jesus only ran with 12}  So the students lives that you can reach personally in your youth ministry is very limited and WILL NOT be the majority.  {that’s why small group leaders are so vital… but that is a different post altogether}  So this got us talking about the role of communication in youth ministry and how VITALLY IMPORTANT it really is.  I mean, just because we couldn’t remember sermons from our teenage years doesn’t mean that they weren’t important… it just means that they weren’t memorable.  As a youth pastor, I have come to realize, that for a majority of the students in my ministry, the 30 min. that they hear me speak on God’s word MAY BE THE ONLY VOICE speaking THAT truth  into their life that week.  I mean, God gets 30 minutes of their week?  They have 10,080 minutes a week… and God might get 30?That number is staggering!  If they sleep a normal 8 hours a night {doubt it} they still have 6,720 awake minutes where they will listen to all kinds of voices in their life: parents, teachers, friends, TV, music, video games, youtube, facebook, etc…  And, for a majority of the students in your youth ministry, God gets 30 min.  I’m just guessing this, but I’m assuming that unless it’s getting reinforced somewhere else, those 30 min. are getting drown out by the other voices.  If this is true, then WHY is there no sense of urgency in communicating MEMORABLE TRUTH to teenagers?  By the way, both of those words need to be emphasized.  Just because something is memorable doesn’t mean that it communicates God’s truth in a way that leads to life change… just saying.  I have literally heard communicators, minute by minute, bore teenagers to tears with the Bible and then leave them with nothing memorable except “That was a big waste of my time.”  Let’s get a sense of urgency.  Let’s not waste the 30 min. a week that God has given us with these students.  Teach the truth in memorable ways.  

{BTW… this doesn’t just apply to student ministry.  It applies to teaching the Bible to anyone 😉 }


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