the Monday Morning Debrief: I don’t care what my students learn

After being in youth ministry for over 13 years I have learned a few different things (I think).  One of the things I have learned is that I really don’t care what my students learn.  Really I don’t.  Before you unsubscribe to my blog or call me a pagan (or something like that), let me explain.

The students and I just got back from PCTC (Pennsylvania Christian Teen Conference).  It was a great weekend for student to get to know each other and learn about Christ away from home.

Normally after these conferences or retreats, as a way of processing, I gather students together and debrief on what they learned from their time over the weekend.  But this year I did something different.  And, I’ll have to say it was completely God inspired.  This year, after the conference ended and we were waiting for out bus to arrive, I gathered the students together and I told them that I didn’t care what they learned this weekend.  As I told them this, I definitely saw some shocked students. I could see the expressions on their face saying, “oh this guy is so fired” and “what kind of youth director is this”.  However, I went on to tell them that I didn’t care for 2 reasons:

  1. because as soon as we get off that bus, no one else will care either.
  2. It doesn’t matter what they learned unless they are willing to do something about it.  I told them that I have seen too many of these times where students have a great “spiritual weekend” and then come back home and nothing really changes in their lives.

That is why I don’t care what they learned.  But then I challenged them that if they were really serious about Christ and what He taught them this past weekend, the ownership rests on them.  They can choose to do something about it or just go home and act like nothing happened this weekend.

I also challenged them that if they want to step up, we have things for them to do within our youth program.  We have service opportunities, home groups forming where they can grow closer to Christ and bring their friends along and we have opportunities within the nZone for people to be changed by Christ.

Overall, the students responded well to it.  Again, they were surprised by my first comment of not caring about what they learned.  But once they heard me out and heard the challenge, I felt like they were receptive and were going to get more involved in what the youth program at New Life is doing and make Christ more apart of their lives.

Great weekend, great friendships being built and an even greater opportunity for Christ to do something amazing with these students and our youth program.  I’m really excited about what God has for us ahead!

Thoughts, comments, questions, suggestions?  Post something so that we can all learn from each other and benefit.

Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at YMSidekick.com and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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