Facing spiritual battle is a huge part of youth ministry. I’ll never forget the first time I had to deal with a teen in my ministry passing away. It was my first year of high school youth ministry and a freshman girl passed away from cancer. Instead of leaning into the situation and supporting the family, I just stood by and watched. I had allowed my fears to overcome me and Satan’s voice to fill me with doubt.
In youth ministry facing spiritual battles means being ready for the different areas it occurs. For example, when:
- Teens Hurt
- You Butt Heads With Leadership
- Home Is Compromised
- A Parent Chews You Out
- The Community Is Shaken
The list is endless and that’s because youth ministry is messy. It is messy; however, beneath that mess is a wonderful adventure that can bring teens and their families closer to God. As youth ministers you and I need to be facing spiritual battle by:
- Leaning In – Hiding from a problem is one of the worst things you can do. Instead lean in and ask God for his guidance. Sit in the emotions it brings. By being present in the messes you ensure teens that you and God are physically present. To lean in means asking God,“How would you like to use me?”
- Live What You Preach – You are ignoring the battle if you do not walk the walk. If you challenge teens to read the Bible; make it a part of your daily habits. If you wants teens to seek forgiveness; make sure you are reconciling for your own sins. While you don’t have to be perfect you need to be authentic. Satan aggressively goes after our pride.
- Connect With A Spiritual Mentor – Life is not meant to be traveled alone and neither is facing spiritual battle. Find someone in your church (or a professional) you can regularly meet and pray with. A spiritual mentor (director) can give you faith strengthening exercises. It’s like having your own physical trainer for your soul.
- Rely On Community – Again, you are not meant to face life alone; therefore, find a community of in the trenches youth workers. Allow these men and women to cry, pray and grow with you. Be sure to plug into conferences that will remind you of why you serve. Connect with networks within your community and even online.
- Protect What’s Important – Youth ministry can be so consuming that we easily lose sight of what’s most important. If you aren’t making time for God and your family, you will lose out. The most important support networks a youth minister can have is with God and their family. That means scheduling quiet time with God, date nights with the spouse and “play time” with the kids. Don’t be afraid to make it non-negotiable. It will be tough to protect, but so worth it in the end.
While messy, facing spiritual battle in youth ministry is worth it. God has called you to walk with teenagers and their families through difficult moments. You, your family and your church will be challenged, just remember to trust God.
How are you facing spiritual battle? Please comment