Have the desire to start a youth ministry in your prayer group or church?
Make it Age Appropriate
About a year ago, I realised that our existing youth group – for ages late 20s to early 30s – was not meeting the needs of teenagers. When I invited someone to join our group, she said “But they’re all so old!”. It came as a bit of a shock to me because I think of myself as fairly young and I’m a decade older than most in our existing group (wake up call, I’m middle aged!!). I realised she was right – we cannot expect teens to fit in with working youth. We were going to have to start a new group.
Get the Lord’s Vision
Jan (one of my earliest friends, who has a great heart for the Lord) & I sat in prayer and got this number – 540! We were going to pray for 540 youth from our suburb. I remembered how the number 100 seemed daunting when we started our current group (from 3 people!) and yet now, by the Lord’s Grace only, we have easily touched the lives of over 100 young people in and around our suburb. 540 seems impossible – but hey, nothing is impossible with God.
The Backbone – The MOST important thing
Immediately after getting the 540 revelation, I reached out to Royston, another friend from way back, who has not only a great heart for the Lord & for youth, but who has been making waves all through the world recently, praise God. Royston, Jan & I “soaked” the 540 in prayer.
You want to start a new ministry or church? Whatever it is – FIRST & FOREMOST it has to be born of God. Without God’s direction & vision, without prayer, you might as well give up before you start. Pray, pray, pray. And then pray some more.
The three of us started praying. Remember I said I realised this about a year ago? We kept this in prayer for over 6 months. 6 months down the line, I added three more to our prayer team, Audrey (my spiritual mentor, an all around amazing being!), Firuza (close friend, huge intercessor) & Neelam (one of our youth from existing team) all who have hearts to grow youth to start praying for the 540.
Then an amazing thing happened! A priest moved to a local parish who I figured was definitely the answer to our prayers! Yet for some reason, the doors did not open. He did not answer my whatsapps, did not give me an appointment to meet with him. And when I finally met with him (without an appointment, just in the church compound) he seemed disinterested. Nothing seemed to be moving. I should at this point state, he is a fabulous priest; it just was obviously not the door God wanted to open.
I was sad that we had prayed so much and yet hitting a brick wall. Royston advised me to just leave it – that we cannot push open doors that the Lord did not want open. So with a slightly heavy heart I turned back to praying & waiting on the Lord, but with the determination to not give up.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he shall direct your path. Proverbs 3:5
Never give up, the Lord is Faithful
And then a further few months down the line – Fr. Allwyn from St. Andrew asked to meet with me. One of the things I’ve always said is that youth have so many programs organised for them but the main thing is to give them God or no other program makes sense. It spoke volumes that Fr. Allwyn said these same exact words to me. I knew God alone had connected us.
It took a few months to get things in place and then voila! – we had our first youth meeting last month. The turnout was amazing. After a YEAR of praying, hoping, trying out my own ideas – the Lord effortlessly opened a door through His chosen servant. Best of all – I had to do absolutely nothing but turn up for the meeting. It was the Lord saying to me – “I HAVE DONE THIS – it is not you, it is all Me. It is all mine.” I’m just blessed to be a part of it.
Today, Aug 17th, 2017, is our second meeting! We are still in our early days, not even close to 54, let alone 540 – but they will come.
This blog is a chronicle of my personal walk with God in ministry (specifically 3 ministries – youth, worship & preaching). I pray that my experiences will help you with your ministry. God bless you!