Pray for The Desire
Holy Bribery - verb: The act of using anything and everything to motivate the students of your youth group.
“Come to church tonight! We’ve got pizza!”
“Bring a friend and get entered to win a gift card!”
“If you answer in small group you’ll get some candy!”
How many times have you said phrases like these, or heard a fellow youth worker use them?
I’m sure there are so many of us that are guilty of this.
I know I am.
I’ll be honest in saying that sometimes it does take a little extra to motivate students to come to church and to participate once they’re there. After all, they are teenagers and so many of them are driven by flashy things. However, I believe that God wants us to look at the way we motivate our students a bit differently.
On the day of our Midweek Service a year ago, I had just finished sending out a text to remind our students about church that evening. (For this, I use the Remind 101 App. It’s AMAZING for communication.) Almost as quickly as I hit “SEND”, I received a reply from one of my middle schoolers.
To put it simply, this kid didn’t seem too thrilled about church.
I remember thinking, “God, what do I need to do to get these kids excited to come to church? Games? Food? What?!”
In that moment, I truly felt the Lord impress upon my heart that I shouldn’t look for shallow things to merely get them to church, but instead, pray that He would give them a desire for Him.
Needless to say, I was shook.
It is so easy for us to get wrapped up in just merely getting students to attend our youth group. To measure success by the number of seats we have filled up. But if we have 100 students sitting in front of us simply there for pizza, what has been gained? It would be so much more meaningful to have 5 students there that truly have a desire for the Lord and His Word.
Hear me when I say this: there will be times where you do find yourself texting your students about the food they’ll get to eat after service, or a prize they can win for inviting a friend. Have the fun! Bless them with cool stuff! Sometimes it does take getting them there before you can truly minister to them. But, remember that overall, we should be desiring and praying for our students to have a hunger for the Lord—not just the donut they’ll get before Sunday School.
Pray for that desire, friend.
And my prayer for you is that you would have a ministry full of individuals ready to seek the Lord wholeheartedly.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” -Matthew 5:6