Over the next few blogs, I will outline 5 things I have learned in leadership. These key things have helped shape my “philosophy” in youth ministry and overall leadership, especially in the church.
The Conference High = When Students & Leaders, go to a conference just to be refueled with no true intentions of living Godly or when the amazing work that God did in one’s life during a Conference wears off soon afterward because THEY DIDN”T nurture the life change. Amos 5:21-24 (MSG) give us a sharp warning about having meetings for meeting’s sake…
This mentality or state of being is so dangerous as it leaves you wounded, frail and numb, and can even leave you worse off (Luke 11:24-26). If we are honest with ourselves we would realize that at one point or another we too have had that “conference high.” Anytime there is a Godly life change, whether at a regular church service, conference/camp, or on the metro bus… we must nurture & steward the change. This does not mean we are in control of the Holy Spirit and how He moves, but it does allow us to take responsibility for how we will respond to the life change. Often times, youth pastors & leaders are unaware of how to help students nurture this amazing life change. So when the student gets back into the reality of life, with friends they hung with before, they are tempted to go back to the old way of living and for most, this temptation becomes the very thing they fall for. Here are some simple steps to not be wounded by the “Conference High”… Ready, Set, Go:
1. Recognize the moment – Understand what just took place in your life… Salvation, Baptism of Holy Spirit, Water Baptism, etc… If we can’t recognize and understand what just happen, then how are we expected to nurture this moment. It’s okay to not fully understand everything, but you should have the basics of what just happen. Recognize the moment, then seize that same moment.
2. Find Refuge – Get with an accountability partner who is either a leader or an honest friend (older, same-sex) who was there at the camp. It is vital that this person was there at the conference or who is a trusted leader. This will save you a lot of headaches, as you are dealing with someone who understands the life & heart change that has taken place. Submit to this accountable partner and let your heart “bleed” about all that God has done, is doing and will do. Be sure to allow time for prayer and praise. Meet regularly. Begin to distant yourself from that old living (friends, hangout spots, activities, etc.)
3. Surrender to the Leadership of the Holy Spirit – Simple enough but often a critical step we miss. He, the Holy Spirit is the one who has begun the work and change in your life… So it will be wise to allow him the freedom to move in your life. He knows exactly what you need and when you need it. This life-change is a process that will not end until Jesus’ returns. Philippians 1:6 states, ”And I am sure of this, that He [Holy Spirit] who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Surrendering is a sign of devotion and love. He is there to Comfort you, Counsel you, and to Convict you.
4. Run Tell That – Run tell all that just happen to you… John 4 gives us a perfect picture of how Jesus justifies and gives heart change to a woman at the well and the very next thing she did was to run and tell everyone who would listen. The Bible even records that she left the very thing she was at the well for… Water! More times than not, we forget this important step, but it’s a crucial step of faith to actually “Go and Tell it on the Mountain.” Your testimony is so needed. A dear friend, Pastor Jordan Sharrett recently said: “Our greatest regrets in life will be the moments we didn’t share the Gospel, that changed us!” Remember, we overcome (the world) by the Blood of the Lamb [Jesus] and the voice of OUR Testimony!!! What’s your story of change and who can benefit from your story of change?
*** Youth Pastors/Leaders – share this with your leadership teams and parents.. they can help the student walk out this life change so that they can have fruit that remains. DO NOT DO THIS ALONE! ***
*** Students – Talk with your parents, small group leader and/or Youth Pastor. They are there to help you as your embrace all that God has for you. Begin to get active in reading your Bible (starting with the book of John, then Romans, then Colossians and next Hebrews!) Get active in your youth ministry anyway you can. YOU MATTER MORE THAN YOU KNOW! ***
*** Parents – Allow students to process what has happen and be a tower of comfort, encouragement, and love for them. Get with their Youth Pastor/Small Group Leader and see how you can be involved. Engage your kids with questions and prayers over them. PLEASE KNOW YOU ARE NOT IN THIS ALONE! ***