We insist that personal salvation always involves Christian mission and service to the world. By joining heart and hand, we assert that personal religion, evangelical witness, and Christian social action and reciprocal and mutually reinforcing. Scriptural holiness entails more than personal piety; love of God is always linked with love of neighbor, a passion for justice and renewal in the life of the world.
The General Rules represent one traditional expression of the intrinsic relationship between Christian life and thought as understood within the Wesleyan tradition. Theology is a servant of piety; which in turn is the ground of social conscience and the impetus for social action and global interaction, always in the empowering context of the reign of God.
In the words of my dad, Mike Alexander, Senior Pastor at New World UMC:
I am proud that I was born into and essentially raised in and now have the pleasure to serve within the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church. In the last couple of years some of the youth directors in my conference have met together on a monthly basis in an accountability group. At first I was really not on board with this idea, but now it is sometimes the best part of my month. I love talking with people that get what I do. Can you relate to that? I love the support of this group, it reminds of what the Methodist classes during John Wesley’s ministry days would have been.
It truly also have been a growing experience where we have made ourselves transparent with each other and encourage and energized each other in what we do in our perspective ministries. Today at our meeting we were discussing how in youth ministry it’s not what you say that they will all remember, but what you do and really how you do it.
Have you noticed that in ministry?
The old adage that we have heard for many years is “words are cheap.” Meaning anybody can say they love Jesus, but it is another thing entirely to love Jesus with your words and your actions. That is what mission and service means in this context. I love how it says:
Scriptural holiness entails more than personal piety; love of God is always linked with love of neighbor, a passion for justice and renewal in the life of the world.
Love of God is always linked with love of neighbor. To love God is to love your neighbor and to love your neighbor is to love God. Words only go so far. We are compelled/controlled/empowered by Christ’s love not just to say things, but to do active things in our faith that help us to grow and extend God’s love. This is not to say that your personal relationship doesn’t matter, IT DOES! Think of this like a journey. Confirmation in the church in youth ministry is usually the beginning of that journey, but as you learn and grow and are active in your faith with small groups, worship, and mission trips, your faith grows and expands.
So the question is how do we do this for our youth in our youth ministries? Here are a couple of ideas to do for your youth:
1. Mission Trips – Short term/Long Term – I think we run into the temptation that Mission Trips are only done one way. They just aren’t. Every year we go on two mission trips, a high school one in June and a middle school one in July, but throughout the year we are readily and frequently looking for ways to serve in our community. Don’t just look for one way to do mission. Expand your vision when it comes to Mission. Consider visiting nursing homes, raking leaves for members of your church, or even handing out water to people after school. All of these are great opportunities to spread God’s love.
2. Youth Gathering – Each time you end your youth gathering each week give your students a way to act out or put into action what y’all have talked about that night. Sometimes this could be ordering silicone bracelets for them to wear and pass out to friends, or giving them a notecard to put in their bible or bathroom mirror to remind them to live out their faith. You need to weekly empower and equip your students to live out their faith somehow.
What other ways can you live out your faith in your community? What have y’all found to be great ways to do this?
As always my prayers are always with you and your ministry. If you have any prayer requests I would love to pray for you and help you in any way I can. Us youth workers and disciples need to stick together in the love and grace of Christ. Please don’t hesitate to email me at email@example.com so that I can pray for you and help you in anyway I can.
Thanks for all you do for the Kingdom of God!
Grace and Peace,
Bradley W. Alexander