Many of the ministry approaches that worked in the past won’t work the same in 2021. In this series on ministry innovation, we explore how to have Courage, Creativity, and Compassion in a new season of ministry. It’s based on the new book by Steven Argue and Caleb Roose called: Sticky Faith Innovation: How Your Compassion, Creativity, and Courage Can Support Teenagers’ Lasting Faith.
Part 2: Creativity
I hear the word, and I bristle.
In a typical year, I love creativity. I am constantly on the hunt for new and exciting club games to wow and entertain my high school friends.
But this year, amidst COVID-19 shutdowns and precautions, I bristle.
If I see one more idea for how to be creative during a pandemic, I just might explode.
I can’t do another Zoom Campaigners, kids won’t get on – they’re tired of it.
I won’t do another online Trivia Night, it’s always the same ten people, and frankly, I’m out of trivia questions.
I’ve grown weary after months and months of brain-wringing COVIDcreativity. The novelty that online ministry enjoyed back in April 2020 has worn off. Kids are sick of it and leaders are too.
Right now I feel stuck, hands in my pockets without an idea to my name.
I hope as you read these words, you think I’m silly, because I feel silly writing them.
But, I also hope that you’re able to empathize with my inward struggle.
See if you can relate…
I feel like my desire to be creative is sometimes hijacked by a sinful, inner-voice that tells me, “Unless you make club fresh and shiny each week, your friends will never hear the Gospel.”
To be the best and brightest is a temptation that faces us all the time within the ministry world, and outside of it too.
- It’s easy to compare our club’s attendance to that of the club down the street.
- It’s tempting to beat ourselves up when our camp trip is not as big as our friend’s.
- It’s a daily challenge not to compare our lives with the lives of others that we see broadcast on social media.
- And it’s sometimes a battle to see yourself as worthy and loved when the world so often tells you that you aren’t.
In a school year like this one, our perceived shortcomings and feelings of not-good-enoughness can be amplified to the nth degree. No one shows up to Campaigners. No one cares about Trivia Night. It can feel quite defeating. Why am I even doing this anymore?
There’s grace for that.
To be the best and brightest is not a biblical expectation that God places on our lives.
Take Moses for example. Moses offers boatloads of excuses when God calls him to lead Israel out of slavery in Egypt:
- “I’m not good enough.” (Exodus 3:11)
- “I don’t know enough.” (Exodus 3:13)
- “I can’t lead well enough.” (Exodus 4:1)
- “I can’t speak well enough.” (Exodus 4:10)
- “I am not enough; send someone else.” (Exodus 4:13)
“I am not enough…”
What a horrible, defeating, misleading lie that we often let ourselves believe.
You are enough.
Young Life leader, hear this today: you are enough.
That’s it. No further explanation required, but indulge me for a moment…
The God of the Universe became human and died the death you deserved so that you might live the life for which you were made.
You have been called by the Lord to be a Young Life leader to the kids in your life right here, right now. Campaigners or no Campaigners. Online club or no online club. You’re still their Young Life leader.
So, because Christ says you are enough, you are enough.
And since you are enough, your creativity is enough, too.
God is using you.
Years ago, Dr. Kara Powell at the Fuller Youth Institute coined the phrase, “warm is the new cool.” This phrase was born from research that showed that adolescents cared more about someone being warm and loving toward them than someone being cool and coming up with the best and brightest ideas.
So how does this tie into Moses? Although Moses might have been right about some things (he didn’t have the best track record, and he did have a speech impediment), God said that those things didn’t disqualify him from God’s call in his life. It wasn’t Moses’ call, it was God’s call. He said Moses was the man for the job.
And guess what?
Moses stepped up to the plate and crushed it; he knocked it out of the park. Yes, there were bumps along the way, but God was faithful to the calling he placed on Moses’ life, and God used Moses to accomplish his will on Earth.
The bottom line: If God can use Moses, he can use you too.
Just as God called Moses in Moses’ day, he has also called you in yours.
Whether the pandemic has you feeling energized or exhausted, enough or not enough, creative or uncreative: you are called, and you are the one who God has placed in the lives of the kids you love and pursue. Bask in the freedom of this simple statement: you are enough.
Enter to win your copy of STICKY FAITH INNOVATION in the contest on Instagram!