SOIYM – WEEK 4

School of Innovative Youth Ministry
Week 4 – Personal Approach to Ministry
Speaker – Chris Adams

Wow – week 4 was incredible. The main focus of the week was how to be sustained in long term missions. How do we align our hearts with God to keep us engaged for more than two years?

The biggest things that I learned throughout the week was that the only thing that sustains us is our relationship with God – not the ministry we do, the people we hangout with, or the knowledge we seek, but just our being with God. That brought me to the realisation that I do not seek God to sustain me, but I rely on the structure of the community around me to sustain me. That means that when I leave this amazing community, my efforts to spend time with God dwindle pretty incredibly. It was hard to see that I seek out other input or relaxation to soothe me and give me rest instead of seeking out God and the peace and rest he can bring.

A question that we were asked was this: Are you spending as much time with God as you would like to be? Immediately my thought was no and that I had all these desires to spend so much time with him and to read my bible and really dig in…But then Chris said something that has stuck with me. “The answer to this will always be yes. We make time for the things that we want to do.” So if I’m not spending as much time with God as I think I want to, is there really a desire deep in my heart for that? If there was, it wouldn’t be a challenge to try and wake up earlier to read my bible or to say no to hanging out with people to spend some one-on-one time with God. Clearly, I don’t want to be with God as much as I thought I did.

The next question that I was faced with was WHY? Why don’t I want to spend that time with God? When it comes to my free evenings or my weekends, what do I seek first to fill my time? Usually I go to friends, books, movies, or art. Rarely do I actually think Oh, I have the afternoon free, I’m going to just spend time with God. I look to other things to fill my time – to sustain me. Entertainment is one of the biggest idols in this generation; we have a need to constantly be satisfied and entertained. Our attention spans are getting shorter and our need for stimuli is absurd. So I made a few decisions during week 4. First, I would look at the things that I’m putting into my head and heart and evaluate whether they’re really that good – tv shows, music, books, etc… Second, I would start thinking more about how I’m spending my time; what to I automatically go to when I’m bored? And thirdly, I would start asking God daily what I can lay down for the day as an act of obedience; if I practice obeying him in smaller things, it’ll grow my trust and ability to obey in the bigger things.

It’s been three weeks now and I have to say I feel way better. I cut out some tv shows and started monitoring my time spent with friends or just seeking entertainment. And I’ve had the complete joy of letting go of some things for a day to just obey God. I had a day without tea, a phone, facebook…a bunch of things and it has been really cool just practicing saying yes to God. And I’ve noticed that it has hugely grown my trust in him to take care of me. When I’ve made my relationship with God my focus, I’ve felt peace and joy in pretty much every other area of my life. I’m allowing God to be what sustains me and it’s probably the coolest thing I’ve learned in a while.

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