Recently, I went to a conference for Youth Workers with my co-workers: Reed and Sherese. There we had a great time together and learned much about ministry that we can attach to our lives and ministries! The content of the conference was chock full of take aways as well as thought provoking questions that need to be wrestled with.
I won’t share the name of the conference however because I feel there was a major item missing from the conversations, workshops and main sessions. I don’t desire to bash the conference in any way but simply desire to bring up a broader conversation piece I picked up on.
The thing I noticed about the conference was the lack of emphasis (or even mentioning) on the Person and Work of the Spirit.
Over and over again we heard about methods for ministry (youth and college age). We were opened to a world of new tech gadgets, new thoughts and even discussion on thinking theologically about Youth Ministry. These are all great and amazing things to learn about, yet real ministry happens by the work of the Spirit using us as His tools to do the work of the ministry.
One particular discussion panel was on where the human meets the divine. Here for sure, I thought the panel would strike up the conversation of the Spirit interacting with humanity and this is where the connection between the divine and human meet. Sadly, this was no where on the radar and when I stood to ask about this seemingly obvious tie in, there was no real response, simply a gentle glossing over.
I see this disparity in books about ministry as well. There is no real working ministerial theology of the Person and Work of the Spirit. It is only by walking in the Spirit that we can be effective ministers, but the conversation of the Spirit isn’t even brought up. To me, this is why youth workers, and pastors are hitting the wall in ministry….they simply are taught over and over again that it is up to them and how they preach Jesus and how they understand methods and how they study culture and how they lead this and how they lead that! Sure some of the modes and methods are great and even helpful but without the Work of the Spirit within us we could try all the new stuff and end up producing a great ministry…without God in the midst.
Or, worse yet we try to do it all on our own as we are convinced it should be done and we burn out and walk away from Jesus ourselves, thinking it was a sick joke for Him to appoint us as ministers if it was all going to ruin everything.
Literally, in 5 days of being there I heard the words Holy Spirit once. I know there was a main speaker (which I missed) that discussed the Spirit a bit more, but that’s all…everything else was directed at us “getting it done”.
I love the people that put this conference on and I enjoyed every minute of my time there, I am simply trying to elevate a topic I noticed missing and I notice missing in most every ministry book I’ve read.
Here’s my question pastors, lay leaders and whoever else cares: why do we neglect the conversation about the Spirit? Why do we not teach and preach on where the power for ministry comes from?
A.W. Tozer said: “If the Holy Spirit left today, only about 10% of the people would notice, the other 90% would continue ministry as if nothing happened”. I think this true today as well, this is why I feel it is so important to elevate this conversation.