Coming home from the T4G Conference with 20+ books (most were gifts!) not only adds to the stacks of books in my Pastor’s Study but adds to my weekly reading agenda. It’s not that I will try to read them all in a few week’s time, but before I can decide which ones to read first, and which to set aside for a time, I must browse them all. This task is a real joy, but one still fraught with danger (that is, I could become caught up in the book and spent more time reading in it than I can afford that day).
Monday (typically my day off) I ambitiously took a handful of these books to the sofa for browsing after my devotions. I grabbed a bunch of the smaller books, foolishly thinking they could be browsed faster. I got caught right off the bat, and didn’t get past the first one! But this was really the Spirit’s work, I quickly realized (thank you, Lord).
On Monday morning’s I have a standing appointment with the youth group worker from our church, and this first book was aimed squarely at such ministry. It is by Steve Wright, published in 2007 by InQuest Publishing titled RETHINK, Decide for Yourself Is Student Ministry Working? It is printed with larger than normal type, generously spaced on small pages, so even slow readers such as myself can read through half the book in no time at all. So I did. It’s a very helpful book, and I commend it to you.
One part with broader applications I want to post, since it is such a joy to find big, important spiritual things handled in such a useful way. It’s about one way to begin to assess someone’s spiritual development (not just for teens)…
Maybe your group is full of developed teenagers, grounded in the Word and able to articulate their beliefs. But how do you know? Here’s a way to see. At your next meeting, pass out blank sheets of paper with one question across the top: WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE MESSIAH? Explain to your group that they will have fifteen minutes to answer the question; the only rule is that if they use a Bible verse, they must cite its source. If they mention a prophecy, tell them to be specific on which ones they are referencing. Then turn them loose. Give it a try. You may be amazed at the results.
But why this question? You might recall that this is essentially the same question that Jesus asked His disciples in Matthew 16:15 — WHO DO YOU SAY I AM? It is also the same one that John the Baptist pondered as he sat in a jail cell before he was beheaded and sent his followers to answer, IS JESUS REALLY THE ONE? (Luke 7:19). It is also the same one our teens will ask when the trials of life come — and they will come…. [pp. 57-58].
How would YOU do with this assignment? Where are you spiritually? I suggest we find practical ways to answer the big questions.
(pastor dave bissett)