More Youth Ministry
On Friday night we had some thirty students come for our second youth meeting at the translation center, probably half of them aren't believers, and maybe 7-10 of them I've never seen before. It was exciting to see so many people come. We played games as best we could, crammed into the room we had at our disposal. We barely fit everyone in, but fit we did! Afterwards we had a time of singing and a devotional. I talked about either being slaves to sin, or slaves to Christ. About 10 people left when we took out the Bible, unfortunately, and they came back after we had finished. I was a little discouraged by that, not for myself as much as for their own sake--I really wanted them to hear the truth and the good news. I keep praying for them. Please pray with me in this.
On Saturday night, late, it all of a sudden dawned on me that I hadn't planned the lesson for Sunday! I was falling asleep and felt rather ashamed for having overlooked one of the most important things I'm doing here in Salasaca. I knew I wanted to talk about salvation by Grace alone, but didn't have a lesson plan or anything. Sunday morning I woke up praying for a specific passage to teach on. I was lead to Ephesians 2, and a couple ideas popped into my head of how to illustrate this passage. I briefly studied up on it, grabbed a whiteboard marker, and left with the Waskoski's for church.
I was quite aware of the importance of this principal and wanted to communicate it well to a people who lean towards legalism and works-based salvation. I prayed a lot during the worship service.
When the students came in another idea hit me. I wanted to explain to them the importance of why I was teaching seemingly abstract beliefs rather than "applicable" teachings on dating, obedience, alcohol abuse, or other things these youth might be facing in everyday life. I drew a pyramid on the white board and divided it into three horizontal sections, and labeled the sections (from top to bottom) beliefs, values, actions. They picked up really quickly on how our beliefs form our values, and our values direct our actions. They also agreed then that if I only told them to do certain things, one ever week for the six weeks I was with them, that they would listen for maybe that week. But if their beliefs lined up with Scripture, then their values and actions would follow. From there we went into our verse by verse study of salvation by grace and not by works in Ephesians. I don't remember everything I said. What I vividly remember is seeing their eyes locked on mine, their heads nodding with understanding, and the look on their face that they were still thinking a lot about what they had just heard. The kind of thing that excites a youth worker. The kind of thing that makes us tick. I knew they were glad to hear this news, and I knew they understood what was studied, and I knew I had very little if nothing to do with it. I walked away with my heart singing silent praises to a gracious God who loves these kids fathoms more than I.