Why youth leaders are often to afraid to scatter the seed

This may be true for many Christians, not just youth leaders, but it does strike me that there is often a singular issue that restricts the sowing of the good seed that God has given us. And what is that restriction? The fact that we define what the result has to be!

So many times I have heard youth leaders say that they are reluctant to do anything missional, because they don’t know what the thing will look like in the end! they need to have the totality of the picture in place, so they either engage themselves or encourage their young people to engage. But what would it look like if we didn’t have the complete picture in mind? If we were not so dictative about how things must look once a seed is sown? As Jesus invited the disciples to follow him, as he engaged with others during his journeys, there was no complete picture given, no definable absolute to how things had to be that was shared. There was a journey that was invited into, and life discipleship worked out as the journey was embarked upon. Why is it that we restrict ourselves to defined pictures of how things have to be, rather than enjoying the journey that God invites us on, and seeing where he leads? The farmer scattered the seed, some fell on 4 different types of ground. but it did not restrict him from scattering the seed. He never said to himself, “I have no idea whether this flower will grow into the exact flower, shape, size, colour that i want, so i won’t scatter the seed.” If anything he probably knew the reality that some of the seed would not grow into anything at all, but he still knew that there wold be great stuff out of his sowing, and so he sowed. Could we adopt a similar approach?

Rather than defining what the outcome has to be, could we scatter some seed, and believe, that good things would come from that? Is our reluctance to scatter more about our own lack of belief and trust? Do we hold on to the seed that we have been given because we do not believe that it could grow into anything that God would want? Where do we place our trust?

Isaiah, 55.11 says that the word that goes out will not come back empty. But do we believe that? Do we believe that the word that we speak out from God will not come back empty?

so rather than placing our defined pictures, or personal restrictions upon being missional, sowing the seed, sharing what god has given us, do this in a spirit of trust, belief, and enthusiasm.

The end of the youth group

“what would you like in your community if money, people and space were not issues?” A question that was asked to a group of young people in a school recently where we were involved. Interestingly the response from some came back, saying that they didn’t want youth groups, people puting stuff on for them, they would actually really like their own venue, their own space, their own place to hang out, be, chat, have fun. When exploring this further there was quite a voice that spoke up saying that they would love to be involved in helping set something up, being part of making sure things happened, and being part of making it move forward. Could this kind of idea be the end of the traditional youth group?

A while ago I wrote a booklet, short booklet, which was called the P’s and C’s of youth work, where I argued that the terminology of group needed to change to the idea of community. I wonder whether this is at the heart of what these young people were saying? More community, where they were part of it, and part of the ownership of it, rather than a group, where things were put on for young people, by others, by adults!!

What would discipleship look like in this kind of context? A place where more relationship could grow, where life could be shared, where people are listened too, as well as spoken with. A place where the reality of life could collide with the fullness of life that Jesus offered in John10.10. community also brings in the idea that life can be engaged with more regularly than the 1.5 hours on a friday evening or whenever it might be, and then no engagement in-between times. If we look at how Jesus engaged with the Disciples, he gathered, he did life, he showed, he shared, he enabled, he invited, he released, he involved, he valued. Could it be that some of these values have been missed out, forgotten, ignored from our engagement with young people, or even with the teams that we lead.

Is it time to re-explore our discipleship approach, both with the young people we engage with, but also the teams we lead? Is discipled leadership something worth exploring further so that the phrase, disciples who make disciples is truly lived out? A group settles with what is, a community invites others to be part of what is happening, there is much more to write, but you can read more on some of this at www.rolltherock.org.uk/resources and click on P’s and C’s of youth work. A second part of this will be coming later this year.

Pray for Play

We have been very excited recently, to have had some discussions with people to explore what it would look like to pray for all the playgrounds across the area. Play is an important part of a childs life, fun, joy, should all be part of growing up. Playgrounds offer so much of this, but we also know that so many other things happen in play grounds, so why not pray? Pray for joy, fun, childhood, pray for safety, peace, and excitement for all young people who go there.

We will be sharing much more about this over coming weeks, as we look to a day where we can gather people to pray for local playgrounds. If you are interested please do get in touch with us, rtryouthwork@gmail.com

Please do pray for us as discussions carry on, and we look to how this can happen.

The prophetic in the lack of room

One of the most interesting points of any nativity play is when the inkeeper says that there is no room. It is often said with power, authority, and Mary and Joseph are left in no doubt that there really isn’t any room in the inn at all.

All that they wanted was somewhere to sleep, somewhere for Mary to give birth, somewhere for Jesus to be born. And yet, all that they found was rejection, no room, no openness, pushed away and not wanted.

Is the fullness of the inn a representation of life? Was life then, and is life now, too full for us to recognise the Jesus who knocks and wants to come in, be part of life, bring all that he brings? If so many places rejected Jesus at his birth because they said there was no room, do our lives say the same thing? We are too full; there is no room; we cannot fit anything else into our lives!

This Advent and Christmas time, could it be that Jesus is asking the same question again? Is there room? Can I come in? Is there space for me?

Interestingly then, as it is now, Jesus and his family did not push their way in; there was no force, they did not go where they were not wanted. And I guess the truth is still that – Jesus will not force himself, he will not invade a life that does not want him, pushes him away or rejects him.

What do our lives say at this time? Is there room, space, a welcome? Or are we too busy, too full, and reject the Jesus we think we are open to?