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Youth Ministry A Mile Deep

The gospel has gone a mile wide but it is just simply an inch deep. I desire that it be a mile wide, yes, but also a mile deep.” says Nick, a youth leader in Kenya, of his region. I hope that would be the same desire for all of us who persevere in youth ministry. Sure, growth in numbers does matter. But I think the thoughtful youth worker will acknowledge that growing deeper in the Spirit is as important as growth in numbers, if not more.

Now there really is the tendency to look merely on the numbers or what can be seen, as the Apostle Paul said: “We are careful not to judge people by what they seem to be, though we once judged Christ in that way. Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.” 2Cor. 5:16-17 ESV

If we are not as careful as Paul we also will look on what people seem outwardly, when their standing with Christ inwardly is of greater value. We might do the very thing in our youth group. We might judge individual young people by who they are connected with rather than how connected they are with Jesus. We might do the same with the group as a whole: looking at how quickly our youth group is growing in number rather than how deeply it is growing in faith. It certainly is a tendency for me, maybe because it’s easier to measure and think about things I can plainly see. I have to remind myself to, like the Apostle Paul, look beyond the physical and see the work of Christ in each person. That I think is one important key toward making the gospel a mile deep in our ministry.

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