Thursday, March 10, 2011
Thoughts on Ministry and Discernment
Some more excellent thoughts about discernment, as well as worship and youth group thoughts from Spiritual Junk Food, by Cathy Mickels & Audrey McKeever. The first citation is by the authors on p.55, while the others are cited throughout the book. The book is old - I first read it when I bought it in 1999 - but the information is good and should be a wake-up call for those especially in youth ministry.
Today the emphasis has radically shifted from meeting together to worship God and to study God’s Word, to meeting together to learn to relate to others. Missing in the early church were terms as opening up, mutual trust, affirmation, feedback, and experience. Mickels & McKeever
[A] truly biblical ministry must hold forth truths that are absolute... We must take an unmovable stance on all issues where the Bible speaks plainly... Sound doctrine divides, it confronts, it separates, it judges, it convicts, it reproves, it rebukes, it exhorts, it refutes error. None of those things is very highly esteemed in modern thought. But the health of the church depends on our holding firmly to the truth.
John MacArthur, Reckless Faith: When the Church Loses Its Will to Discern, p. 52
It is vitally important that we think soundly about God. Since He is the foundation of all our religious beliefs, it follows that if we err in our ideas of God, we will go astray on everything else.
A.W. Tozer, This World: Playground or Battlefield, p.104
No matter how attractive the movement may appear, if it is not founded in righteousness and nurtured in humility, it is not of God. If it exploits the flesh, it is a religious fraud and should not have the support of any God-fearing Christian. Only that is of God which honors the Spirit and prospers at the expense of the human ego. “That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
A.W. Tozer, The Divine Conquest: God’s Pursuit of Man, p.120
We must reform our view of the qualification for - and even the legitimacy of - a “youth minister.” The normative pattern in the Scripture implores young people to emulate the values of their elders. They must respect them, be instructed by them and follow their example.... Thus, older men in the church bear the first responsibility for training youth; the older women to follow “likewise” in their steps. We must therefore reject the appalling notion of the model of youth minister as a recently graduated extrovert who looks and acts just like a high schooler himself. If our youth cannot “relate to” older men, then we are seeing evidence of older men having dropped the ball years ago. ...
Ministering to children of unbelievers need not be as difficult as it seems. These children should be drawn to associate with Christian families rather than Christian youth ministries.
Christopher Schlect, Critique of Modern Youth Ministry, p.15, 22