“What is God doing and how can I be a part of it?” One of my friends posted this question sometime ago. I find myself thinking about it often in terms of my own life, but I also need to think about it as it relates to youth ministry. It’s easy to make our plans and pick our themes, but really, I should want to help with whatever God’s plan is for the youth in my parish.
It’s a given that prayer is essential to the life of anyone in ministry (it’s also essential to those who aren’t in ministry). Often, though, our prayers for youth ministry end up being only for things we have planned or when things are falling apart: “Lord, bless this youth event that we have planned and put hours and hours into and have created an incredible marketing idea for…”
But, what if it wasn’t even in God’s plan for you to have this youth event? Just because it’s good, doesn’t mean we should offer it. Many years ago, I planned an event with other youth ministers, which looked good on paper–a day of service, closing with a speaker and a meal. As the planning took off, it became increasingly difficult to make this event work–and not because of enemy opposition. It became obvious to me that though well intentioned, it probably shouldn’t have ever been planned.
Here are some ideas to help us seek the Lord, so that we can be a part of what God is doing, rather than inviting God to bless what we are doing:
- Ask the Lord if there is a theme for the year. Life Teen does this each year. This year we’re praying: Veni Sancte Spiritus.
- Ask the Lord what the theme for the retreat, event, etc., should be. There are many good themes to choose from, but what does God want you to focus on?
- Talk to the Lord about your event calendar. Just because you’ve always done it doesn’t mean it should go on perpetually. Does the Lord want something to come off the summer calendar? Does He want you to add something? Does He want you to use your time a different way?
- When preparing for a talk, spend part of the preparation time asking the Lord what you should focus on. Usually there is plenty of material and concepts to cover, but what do the teens really need to hear?
- Ask the Lord about His vision for the next year. What new things does He want you to start? Change? Let go of? When we try to do things that are not in God’s plan, we hit brick walls. Thus, waiting on the Lord’s timing requires patience on our part. Our idea might be great, but the timing might not be right now. We want to be in sync with the Lord’s timing.
May the Holy Spirit open our hearts to what He is doing, and may we eagerly let go of our own plans to be part of what He is doing.
Plan your 2011 – 2012 youth ministry calendar in just 5 days. Life Teen Spring Training. As good as it gets? Join us March 28 – April 1