Ephesians 3:1-13: Game Plan

Hey gang,
Sorry I missed Saturday and Sunday. It was a great and crazy weekend with Tree Anthem, and in all the fun an excitement I just fell behind. Time to get back up on the horse though!

What's your game plan for youth ministry? Or maybe perhaps better framed the way Doug Fields would have it, what's your youth ministry's purpose? Why do you exist? Another great way of thinking through this question is to ask yourself if you were to close down your ministry tomorrow, who would be offended? Would your students? Would their parents? What about the local schools? What about your congregation? And why would they be upset?

At Veritas, our purpose statement (which recently got a facelift to be a little easier to say) is to provide opportunities for students to experience Christ's redemptive power through discipleship and fellowship, to react appropriately through worship and mission, and to think revolutionarily about reaching out to others in the community. We have a goal, we have a direction we're headed. We know the game plan.

In Ephesians 3, Paul tells us that his mission statement comes to him through the power of the gospel of Christ. Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God's grace that was given me by the working of his power. Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ... Because of the gospel of Christ, Paul has the conviction and the desire to see to it that non-Jewish Gentiles get in on the great stuff that happens to a person covered in Christ's grace. At this point in the story, most of the other Christ followers were focused on reforming Jewish believers. Paul was one of the few with a heart for the Gentiles.

But I think the major lesson to be learned here in this passage is that our mission statement or purpose statement need to be fueled by nothing other than the gospel. If you have a youth ministry simply because the church up the street has one, you need to rethink your approach. If you exist only to provide entertainment to your students, you need to rethink your approach. If you define success only by the number of students walking through your doors and not by the (much harder to measure) change occurring in their lives, you are doomed to fail. The truth is, it's only by the gospel of Christ that we have any hope of success at all.

So I encourage you this morning to take a hard look at why your ministry exists. Why do you do the things you do? What motivates you to come to work in the morning? If it's anything other than to share the boundless love of Christ with your students, you might need a reboot.

For tomorrow, let's rock out 3:14-21.