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Passing on the baton (1 Timothy 6:20-21)

Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness. May God’s grace be with you all. (1 Timothy 6:20,21) I once heard the story of a runner in a 4 x 100m relay team who was running the third leg. The starter’s pistol fired and the lead-off sprinter left the blocks and gave it all they had, earning a narrow lead before passing the baton...

May 25, 2020

Treasure (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19) If you’ve ...

May 18, 2020

The core business of youth ministry

The retail operator Blockbuster was once the giant among video stores, dwarfing a mail-order DVD service run by a company called Netflix. When the market changed one died and the other flourished. Why? Because one saw their core business as providing DVDs while the other saw their core business as entertainment.  Now is a good time to remind ourselves that as youth leaders our core “business” is not to run programmes but to make disciples (Matthew 28:19,20). Programmes contrib...

May 14, 2020

The end of the story (1 Timothy 6:15,16)

For, at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. He alone can never die, and he lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him. No human eye has ever seen him, nor ever will. All honor and power to him forever! Amen. (1 Timothy 6:15,16) Have you ever read a book or seen a movie knowing how it will end? While knowing the outcome won’t necessarily ruin the experience of reading or viewin...

May 11, 2020

Fight the Good Fight (1 Timothy 6:12-14)

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. (1 Timothy 6:12-14) It's generally agreed that the greatest hea...

May 4, 2020

Know who you are (1 Timothy 6:11)

But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. (1 Timothy 6:11)As a young person, there has come a point in your life where your parents have given you greater freedom to go out and spend time with friends in situations where you might be tempted to act in ways that are contrary to how they have raised you.Most I'm sure will agree that what makes you most inclined to act responsib...

April 27, 2020

Seven suggestions for key volunteer leaders during lockdown

Have you ever signed up for something only to find out that what you signed up for was not exactly what you expected? It’s happened to me a few times and left me with a mix of disappointment, frustration and uncertainty. Those of us leading in youth ministry could be excused for feeling any or all of these things right now as our leadership role has suddenly changed. We’ve become used to preparing programmes at which we can interact face to face with the young people. Now there is no weekly ...

April 21, 2020

Desire and the love of money (1 Timothy 6:9-10)

But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:9,10)You may have noticed that there are some phrases in popular use that have come from the Bible. If you say things like “Go the extra mile”, (Matthew 5:41), “A wolf i...

April 20, 2020

Contentment (1 Timothy 6:6-8)

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. (1 Timothy 6:6-8) Years ago I managed to convince myself that I needed an iPad. When it was first released it looked to me like a big iPod and I couldn't imagine why anyone would need it. However, before long, Apple's advertising had me hooked. (When it comes to the sin of covetousness, I confess that I'm most...

April 13, 2020

Bible truth and ungodly living (1 Timothy 6:4,5)

Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions. These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy. (1 Timothy 6:4,5) I recently spoke to a group of students at a Bible College and in my opening ...

April 6, 2020

Biblical truth and godly living (1 Timothy 6:3)

Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life.(1 Timothy 6:3) I've often played a game with young people in which one person is blindfolded and two people are selected: one to guide them through a maze of objects by giving verbal directions only and another who tries to have them knock over the objects by giving false instructions. The twist is that the person blindfolded has no idea which person is t...

March 30, 2020

Crisis, danger and opportunity

It’s a shame that the old meme that the Chinese word for “crisis” is a combination of the words meaning “danger” and “opportunity” is not true. A shame, because there is certainly truth to the saying itself. At times like this, it’s easy to focus on what we can no longer do, rather than the opportunities that present themselves. Yet I wonder if the greatest opportunity presenting itself to us is in danger of being overlooked. It’s the opportunity to experience something of a Sa...

March 26, 2020

Care for yourself

A lot of people are asking how they can best keep doing effective youth ministry in the current situation. I think the #1 answer is, care for yourself! (And the #2 answer is care for your family.) This situation is causing stress and the stress is likely to escalate. Before adding more stress by putting unnecessary pressure upon yourself and your leaders to keep the youth ministry train moving, take a step back and remind yourself of an important truth. Ready? God is more concerned about you tha...

March 23, 2020

Respecting leaders (1 Timothy 6:2)

If the masters are believers, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. Those slaves should work all the harder because their efforts are helping other believers who are well loved. Teach these things, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. (1 Timothy 6:2) An exercise I've often done with youth ministry teams is to divide them in half and have one half list all the benefits of being part of a team while the other half lists all the disadvantages. I then have them present their points and...

March 23, 2020

Hope amidst anxiety

I recall being on a flight into Wellington airport on a wet muggy day and when we landed a mist caused by condensation rose from the floor of the aircraft. A young man with an intellectual disability was seated a few rows in front of me and on seeing the mist started loudly yelling in a panicked voice, "FIRE, FIRE!" What stuck in my mind about the incident was not his cries, but the look of alarm on the face of a member of the cabin crew as she rushed down the aisle. Moments before I had thought...

March 20, 2020

Where's the evidence? (1 Timothy 6:1)

All slaves should show full respect for their masters so they will not bring shame on the name of God and his teaching. (1 Timothy 6:1) Some time ago there was a song out with a line that read, "If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" The song was not talking about evidence such as how often you went to church or even how often it read your Bible and prayed. It was not even talking about whether or not you had some leadership responsibility in ...

March 16, 2020

The Need to Be Known (1 Timothy 5:25)

In the same way, the good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light. (1 Timothy 5:25)  I spent hours helping a young person, and in the process a real change took place in their life. They accepted Christ and choose to be baptised. Before they were baptised they had the opportunity to share in front of the whole church how they came to  know and trust Christ, which they did, but in the process of sharing they made not a single mentio...

March 9, 2020

Revealing Hidden Sin (1 Timothy 5:24)

Remember, the sins of some people are obvious, leading them to certain judgment. But there are others whose sins will not be revealed until later. (1 Timothy 5:24) One of the dangers we face in living out our faith in front of those we are leading is that we make it all about appearances. We look for ways to sound spiritual and look holy. We learn to say the right things and to drop in some Christian jargon and a little theology - just enough to impress people into thinking we know what we're ta...

March 2, 2020

Wellbeing and Restraint (1 Timothy 5:23)

Don’t drink only water. You ought to drink a little wine for the sake of your stomach because you are sick so often. (1 Timothy 5:23) It seems to us like an odd command Paul gives to Timothy here to "drink a little wine" especially coming right after a command to "keep himself pure". But Paul was certainly not encouraging drunkenness or even "social drinking". Water supplies in those days were not as pure as what comes out of our taps today and it appears as though Timothy suffered stomach ail...

February 24, 2020

Maturity takes time (1 Timothy 5:22)

Never be in a hurry about appointing a church leader. Do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. (1 Timothy 5:22) Whenever a young person turns their back on their faith it's difficult to watch, but this occasion caused me more concern than most. I spent five years serving in one particular youth ministry and of all the young people I'd had contact with, this person had more reason to believe than most. From an unchurched background, he'd responded to Christ quickly and enthusiastic...

February 17, 2020

Impartiality (1 Timothy 5:21)

I solemnly command you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus and the highest angels to obey these instructions without taking sides or showing favoritism to anyone. (1 Timothy 5:21) Every parent knows that when it comes to their children, they have no favourites! There are days (or weeks and months!) when the company of one child is more enjoyable than another - where one child is easier to like than another. Yet even at these times, a good parent will love their children equally and show no f...

February 10, 2020

Shamed! (1 Timothy 5:20)

Those who sin should be reprimanded in front of the whole church; this will serve as a strong warning to others. (1 Timothy 5:20) Occasionally you come across a verse in the Bible that causes you to blink before quickly moving on. This is one such verse! It's embarrassing and shameful enough when we sin but was Paul really suggesting that our sin should be made known to everyone and that we should be reprimanded in front of the whole church? Such a practice would seem to either make for very lon...

February 3, 2020

Book Review: "Sustainable Youth Ministry" by Mark DeVries

All youth leaders are “interim” therefore instead of building youth ministries around themselves, good youth ministers will work with the church to develop a sustainable youth ministry that will continue on after they leave. This sentence summarises the basic premise of "Sustainable Youth Ministry". Too often churches look for the "superstar" youth worker who will solve all their youth ministry problems. The author, Mark DeVries, sets out in this book to uncover why this is not a good idea a...

January 28, 2020

Adding numbers or growing leaders?

One of the challenges we face in youth ministry is that effectiveness is difficult to measure. Fruit takes time to mature and consequently, the outcomes of what we accomplish from week to week are not immediately measurable. In the absence of immediate means of measurement, we find ourselves settling for short term ways to assess what we do and to justify our effectiveness, "How many attended last week's programme?" "How many were saved at Easter Camp?" "How many are coming to church on Sunday m...

January 27, 2020

Rumour and Gossip (1 Timothy 5:19)

Do not listen to an accusation against an elder unless it is confirmed by two or three witnesses. (1 Timothy 5:19) One of the greatest joys you'll have in leadership is serving alongside others as part of a team. Being part of a team means that there are more gifts and abilities available to enhance your leadership and the ministry you oversee. At times you'll become aware of your own weaknesses and limitations and it's in these situations having people who can do things you can't, will be of gr...

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