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Youth Pastors Are Great Fakers

Josh Griffin —  August 16, 2011 — 12 Comments

I did a survey here on the blog not too long ago asking youth workers to share about their Bible reading and personal time with God. The results from the more than 400 votes were staggering — almost 10% of youth workers hadn’t cracked their Bibles in a week and only 18% considered their Bible reading “solid”.

Here’s the deal — we get it…there are certainly seasons where you are closer to God than others. Certain times of the year or patterns that lend themselves to spending time with God, or that make it tough to do. But if we were honest …it’s fair to say that if youth workers aren’t reading their Bibles, the whole thing is going to collapse sooner rather than later. And if we’re being really honest … we would admit to you that from time to time we’ve been caught up in the pace of youth ministry and not connected significantly to Christ either. And if we’re being really, really honest…we would admit it happens more often than it should.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me,
and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing …”
John 15:5 [
Continue reading in YouVersion]

Youth pastors are great fakers. That’s pretty harsh, but honestly — most Christians are good fakers. We pretend that we’re walking with God by using the correct Christian subculture language. We count listening to Gungor on our 4-minute commute to the church office as our devotions for the day. We subscribe to the Verse of the Day on Twitter (@abibleverse) and every once in a while even look at it.

You can fake it for a while … but not forever.Too often we hide behind charisma, talents, gifts and abilities when the real us is dying in a spiritual pile. This type of shallow spirituality makes us an easy target for the Enemy and prime candidates for a sudden stumble or fall. God has gifted you, but don’t arrogantly think you can lead without him. Follow THE leader!

Recommit to a genuine, ongoing relationship with Christ as you minister in His Name. Good youth ministry starts with a leader whose heart is sold-out to Christ. Good youth ministry is done by youth workers connected to the vine. Let today be the first day when we start to change the statistic and t is rare the youth worker who isn’t connected to Christ daily.

Here’s some practical advice from youth workers in the trenches who are finding creative ways to spend time with God:

  • Before you look at any screen, spend time with God.
  • Take the first few minutes of your office hours in prayer
  • Pray with your spouse before bed each night [Is it okay for me (Kurt) to admit that this one is tough for me?]
  • Block out one afternoon a month to reconnect with God
  • Use one of YouVersion.com’s reading plans on your Evo

May God bless your ministry this week as you serve and stay connected to Him!

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

Josh Griffin

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12 responses to Youth Pastors Are Great Fakers

  1. In my fifth year of youth ministry, I have spent more time in prayer and study than ever before. I may not see all of the spiritual dividends from it in a life time. Still, it’s incredible to minister from the “overflow” of what the Holy Spirit is doing in my life; it sure beats depending on my own inadequate efforts. Bottom line, if we as leaders are not the following Christ the way we would like our students to, we shouldn’t be leading them…

  2. very convicting… sometimes we have to own when we are complete chumps. How can we expect our youth to take seriously the things that we cut corners on. For me, its fasting, when im in this habit i’m ‘unstoppable’ but when im not, its like im wading through mud…

  3. Thanks for this post Josh. Too many of us are just getting by on the latest Francis Chan message we listened to three weeks ago. (No offense, Francis). It’s no wonder we burn out, blow up, or become spiritually numb to the things God wants for us in our personal and ministry lives…

    This post is hard hitting, and the use of the word “fake” is hard to read, but it is exactly what is needed. Thanks for being honest and exposing the frailty of a shallow ministry and faith. Praying that we all make our relationship with Jesus a greater priority…

  4. It’s somewhat ironic that it takes being called fake to make someone see what’s real. But you guys have really hit on something here. I’m happy to say that I’ve been pretty consistent over the past couple of years in my personal time with the Lord.

    Not saying I’m perfect by any means, but when you hit some level, ANY level of consistency, you really feel the difference when you let distractions get between you and that quiet time, or time in His Word. It’s like someone yanked the plug on you, and trying to write a message to your group from the Lord is pretty much impossible.

    Great post guys, thanks for always pushing and challenging us! Iron sharpens iron!

    Blessings,

    Jeremiah

  5. Thank you for this article. I tend to get cought up in the lives of my youth and the ministry I have started here that I forget about my personal connection with Christ. The hard part about being a minister is reading scripture for yourself in your personal quiet time and then saying, “Man, that would make an awesome sermon”.

    I have to remember that the scripture that i am reading is just for me. Thank you and keep the up lifting articles coming.

    God Bless.

  6. Terrace Crawford August 17, 2011 at 7:07 am

    Good post… the truth hurts doesn’t it?

    //TC//

  7. Chris Schaffner August 17, 2011 at 7:18 am

    With the level of acute problems kids present with in our ministries today we must heed this advice. We are unequipped and incapable of bringing healing without utter dependence on God. Thanks for this reminder.

  8. Where the leader goes so do the followers. If we aren’t going to the Word will our students go to the Word?

  9. I’ve only been a youth pastor for a few months., but this reminds me of Mattew 9:14 “Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? Jesus often surprised people in His response when someone had someone in their crosshairs dead-to-rights such as the woman who was caught in the act of adultery. If He let her go with “go and sin no more,” I don’t think he’d be one of the ones wanting to run someone out of the ministry because its been more than x number of days since a properly sanctioned, properly titled personal devotion. I have more than enough reason to be in the Word (studying what my pastor’s preaching, digesting for myself what I’m preaching to others, researching those things that catch my eye on the way to the scripture I was already looking up, seeking a reference for a question I was asked by a friend etc, but I hope I’m careful not to be like the guy in the Bible who gave his resume of all the righteous things he did and thanked God he was not like the publican.

  10. DIdn’t do this, this morning… remembered this post… opened my accordance app to do it!!!!

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