“It makes me feel…”

A youth ministry built on knowing Word of God, doesn’t sound sexy, or attractive but if our youth ministries are built on feelings – stories making you feel valuable, atmospheres making you feel close to God, songs making you feel loved, there will come a point when all that’s gone and our feelings betray reality.

Knowing Christ and making Him known – knowing from the Word of God, knowing you are valuable, knowing you are a sinner, knowing you are loved, knowing you are forgiven and God is faithful and close to you, then…then you have something to stand on, and in the face of the hurricane that is rejection, acceptance, failure, success, isolation, community, doubt, confidence, anxiety, security, betrayal, trust, embarrassment, celebration, guilt, forgiveness, torment, peace and many more experiences of growing up, you will have a life built on strong foundations that will endure.

I have so many conversations with young people who chase the wind in terms of experience of God. It’s a strange paradox of pain and blessing in drawing alongside them and pointing to a Life that pursues truth and righteousness not buzz and fuzz.

As was pointed out to me by good friends, feelings are important but they should be informed by truth. Iain Kennedy (Assoc. Pastor at Renfrew Baptist) said “Have the truth of the Gospel speak into every moment of life, even the feelings, be discerning: just don’t let your faith depend on the recreation of any particular feeling. The Gospel demands all of us, including our feelings.”

Kenny Rogan (Oak Hill College Student) was helpful with his suggestion to “lead to feel based on what they know is true”, or in Colin Ross'(Elder at Hillview Community Church) words “tempered and levelled out by our knowledge”.

I’m not superman, and so when I get bad news, I feel gutted, sad, angry etc… BUT when I come round to what I KNOW is good and true, then my feet are on solid ground. Thinking in the other direction, when I sing “my chains fell off my heart was free, I’m alive because of You…” And I know I’m forgiven, it should stir a greater feeling of joy and celebration than when your football team equalise in the 82min!

Truth regardless of feeling. Let’s lead our young people to feel yes, but feeling grounded in what they know.

Check out Alistair Begg nail the point exactly Knowing V Feeling from the 2009 West Coast Conference.

“So what will you do to the Bible?”

A friend of mine once asked “what do you plan to do to the Bible to make it attractive to young people these days” I said “teach it” and he laughed!

When I read the following as part of David Robertson’s latest article it reminded me of that whole conversation…

“Once I was sitting in our church hall waiting for a children’s party to finish. An older man sat beside me and promptly informed me that he was an ‘elder in the Kirk’, in a village not too far from Dundee. “Our minister disna believe in teaching all that bible stuff” he proudly proclaimed, “it disna attract the young people”. Given that he was blissfully unaware of who I was, I could not resist the temptation! “Really? Perhaps you could help me with a problem? How many young people go to your church”. “Eh…none”. “Well that’s my problem. You see this church does believe in teaching the bible. They have a 30-40 minute sermon twice every Sunday. And they have 100 plus young people. But your minister doesn’t teach the bible because it does not attract the young people and yet it attracts none”.”

Paul writes in 1 Cor 1 v 17 “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”

Have a read, it’s true, and it has been such a blessing to live and breathe it for the last 4 years since leaving teaching – no regrets. Something to think about…”your minister doesn’t teach the bible because it does not attract the young people and yet it attracts none”