I have been challenged lately by a book called Raising The Bar, a book about student ministry. For years accepted practice in student ministry was fun and games, with a big outreach event that you would spend “giraffe money” to put together in the hopes of generating some hype for Christ and getting some kids saved.
I realized that was not for me when I realized how uncreative I am. I actually believe that preaching/teaching the Word of God is sufficient to draw people to Christ, I actually believe that the Gospel is best carried by individual believers bringing others to Jesus, and I actually believe that students are more than just sugar-crazed energy machines. I believe they are warriors who can and will do amazing things for God.
Raising the Bar encompasses all these things. It says that giving students the Bible and hitting them with Truth does more than any pizza night and goofy game ever could. Goofy games and pizza have their place, but the ministry is a teaching ministry. Games are because well, we like to do them too 🙂
It also means that we don’t rely on gimmicks and promotions to bring people to Jesus, but we take the TIME to invest in students to build them into little Andrews who bring people to Jesus, their friends, neighbors, and even parents. It gives them Holy Spirit power many have never felt before, and it prepares them to do battle with Satan in a way that “Jesus Jam” can’t.
It also means we expect students to do something, to attempt great things for God and expect God to do some amazing stuff. It doesn’t settle for mediocrity, but calls for students to go on the mission field, to live dangerous for God, to stand against the weight of culture that teaches them there is no sin, no absolutes (which is an absolute in itself), and that there are numerous paths to God (however you define him/her). I expect more from our students, who have been called out of darkness and into wonderful light.
Raise the bar, and if it means I have people say “this is different” then I must tell them that my goal is not to be a babysitter, but a military trainer preparing soldiers for war. I do not have time to waste on goofy stuff, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some times where shaving cream, baby food, and lock-ins aren’t in use. They will just have a purpose, to make students dangerous arrows in the quiver of God.