Archive for January 7th, 2009

Youth Ministry Essentials 3


I love to laugh.  I enjoy having a good time.  It’s part of what makes my day – every day – go so well.  Fun is a personal value of mine and I have tried as best I can to transfer that personal value into the ministry that I lead.  Do you enjoy what you do?  Let’s face the facts; ministry is hard.  There are times that what I do lacks any feeling of reward.  Fun needs to be incorporated into what we do.

There are some that may find this to be a sacrilegious thought because ministry is a “high, holy calling,” “nothing to laugh at,” or “far to important to joke about.”  To those people I would say (although those people would probably never be caught dead reading this blog) lighten up!  One of my favorite representations of Jesus is Jeremy Sisto in his role as Jesus in the film Jesus.  Here you catch a glimpse into the playful side of Jesus.  Laughing as he splashes his disciples with water from a fountain or playing a sort of game of tag, you see Jesus as a person who valued fun.  Life is far too short to be serious all the time.

Can you laugh in your ministry?  Can you laugh at yourself?  I can remember a time when I was speaking to a large group of youth and I slipped on a word and ruined the whole point that I was making.  Rather than get upset or try the sentence over again I just found myself laughing at my own mistake.  In my attempt to make a point to the teens another point, which needed to be made, occurred.  Laughter and humility are vital to personal sanity.  They are also key components of what I want to communicate and model to students.

I fully understand that we have the world’s greatest message to proclaim to so many young people who need to hear it.  I also comprehend the weight of the words that I speak.  But if in my speaking I can’t communicate that message with some humor thrown in I believe I remove part of whom God is.  I know that God has a sense of humor – check out a platypus sometime!  By incorporating fun into what we do as ministers we are able to show others that life lived to the fullest includes joy.

While I will say I am not a huge proponent of games and entertainment for the sole purpose of filling time I always look for an opportunity to include a fun element into our youth gatherings – always.  If we ourselves don’t find our ministries enjoyable why in the world would we expect anyone else to?  This message that we have been called to proclaim is far too important to bore students with.  If we can’t get excited about the message that we share with others we need to find someone who can.

So, let me ask you this, is your ministry attractive?  I don’t mean that in the way of having the latest and greatest video game systems, the brightest, flashiest stage design, or even the coolest youth room.  Are you able to portray Jesus to students in a way that shows the nature and character of God?  Can you communicate to students in a way that interests them?  I am far from a stand up comedian and I would never tell a joke without a purpose behind it, but I do know that laughter helps tear down barriers that many students put up even before entering our places of ministry.

Is your place of ministry a place that teens actually want to go to?  Are you a fun person to be around?  Again, please do not read into this that you have to be the most outgoing, extroverted leader students have ever laid eyes on.  There are many people who can be known as “fun” who are also very dry in their personality.  As I stated yesterday about the great need for passion in what you do, I add to that in saying that your passion will make your ministry more attractive to people.  As you incorporate who you are into what you do and say, teens will enjoy themselves.  Those that attend for the first time with a friend will sense your sincerity and will most likely return again.

Are you fun?  Is your ministry fun?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this particular post.  Jump on in and leave a comment…