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Those “Bad” Nights (When It All Goes Wrong)

 

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Ever had a “bad” night in ministry? You know the times when we come to youth programming, planned, prayed and ready and it all unravels?

We decide to show a video that we think will be impactful and you discover half the students aren’t even paying attention. They are giggling in the back and passing notes, during what should be a serious time. Then we move to small groups and no one wants to engage. Instead they all stare at us.

Worse yet, on one of these nights you come to the discouraging epiphany that many of your students don’t really “want” Jesus right now. Sure they can give the “right” answers (sort of) when it comes to Salvation, but when you press about living for Him, they go blank.

Recently, at the end of one of these nights a student pulled me aside and asked, “Were you mad at us during small group tonight? It felt like you gave up.” I wasn’t sure how to answer, exactly. My defeat had led to us giving up on what I wanted to be a powerful discussion and simply talking about who was going to see the opening of “Divergent” soon. I told her, “No, I wasn’t angry. I was just hoping for a deeper discussion tonight.” She said, “Yeah, I don’t know why none of us felt like talking.”

It reminded me of some important truths for these nights:

They are still listening:

I once had a student say to me, “We are always listening, sometimes we just act like we aren’t.” Recently I told my Juniors and Seniors, “If you don’t want to come and really contemplate what totally living for Christ means for you, then don’t come. There are other activities you can choose and this is a waste of your time.” (Probably shouldn’t have said that.) However, they all came back the following week. None of them dropped out. They are paying attention and taking it in, even when it seems like they are running from God. He may want to use that “Divergent” discussion.

We Can’t Save, Change a Heart, or Bring Transformation:

Drawing a person to be closer to the Lord with a desire to be His, is the work of the Holy Spirit. When they don’t respond, it has nothing to do with us. When they do take action it still has nothing to do with us. The Lord is the one that calls people to belong to Him.

No ONE Person, Night, Event, Moment or Action Completes A Person’s Walk With Christ:

There are nights that are “dry.” It happens for numerous reasons. Recently, I asked a group of HS Seniors if they could point to just ONE person or time that had helped them grow in the Lord. The answer was of course NO. Some reflected on a speaker they heard at a retreat and a sports coach. Others talked of a favorite sermon, and conversations they had with a youth leader or parent. It’s a journey. Every time God is on the move and we may never know how He is using the “bad” night to bring Himself glory.

So give yourself some slack. Regroup. Just because it didn’t “work” the way you wanted, doesn’t mean God isn’t still doing something. Don’t give up quite yet. Use these times as an opportunity to be moved to pray for your teens. Always remember: we may plant or water but it is indeed the Lord that causes the increase.

What do you do recall on the “bad” nights?”

By | 2016-10-13T13:54:26+00:00 September 7th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

Leneita Fix is the Mission’s Coordinator for Urban Youth Impact and the co- creator and director of the “Own It” Initiative at Berean Christian School in West Palm Beach, Florida. One of her greatest joys is serving in ministry as a family with her husband, John, and four amazing children. Since all of her children are in their teen and young adult years she mocks often that she actually “lives with a youth group.” This has given her a passion to walk alongside other parents of teens, those who work with teens & teens themselves empowering everyday families to navigate the beautiful chaos of the everyday. Her career has been spent in camps, urban, suburban and rural family based ministry primarily in New Jersey, Virginia, and Florida. Her responsibilities have included Bible based program and ministry direction for children ages 5-18, curriculum writing, leadership training, recruiting, discipleship, resource creation and speaking to national audiences. She has authored several books for those who work with teens in a variety of landscapes her most recent being a book that helps parents of tweens and teens connect with their kids called, "The Beautiful Chaos of Parenting Teens: Navigating the Hardest Years You Will Ever Love”.

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