Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Importance of Christocentric Programming

A lot of people, when they think about youth groups, think of flashy lights, fun videos, and often dangerous or disgusting games. While these can certainly be a part of youth programming--though I hope the dangerous games are not--they fall flat when Christ isn't the center.

 Youth ministry is intended to draw youth into a relationship with Christ or to help youth grow in their faith. Youth programming is a method for achieving this ministry, but often we turn programming into nothing more than games. We hide behind words like "outreach" and claims that we're "trying to draw students in" and "don't want to drive them away with Bible-thumping." But if we water down the Gospel or ignore it completely in our programming, aren't we standing in its way?

Isaiah 55:10-11 carries a promise that we too often forget in youth ministry:

"As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

Wherever God's Word is preached, it will achieve His purpose. When we preach the Word, when we declare the Gospel, only those hearts that God hardened like Pharaoh's will be turned away. We are not called to force the Law down students' throats, but when we declare the state of humanity to be in bondage to sin and share the message of the saving grace through Christ Jesus, we cannot push students away. The Law will convict, and the Gospel will comfort.

The games are fun. The videos are great. The fellowship is necessary.  But if Christ isn't the center, it echoes the cry in Ecclesiastes: "Meaningless, meaningless...everything is meaningless!"

How can we fix this fatal flaw in our programming? In each and every thing we do, we will preach Christ crucified. That's the reason all the theme nights I post on here center around the message. That's the reason each night has a Gospel focus. And where I fail, I ask my brothers and sisters in Christ to hold me accountable, and I will do the same for you.

"When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power." 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

This is my calling. This is my desire. This is my ministry.

God's blessings,

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