Written by Pastor Chad “Kicker” Kositzky
You may be saying, “Those are some ugly facts”… Our hope is for the truth of the situation to drive all of us to prayer for teenagers as they struggle to grow up. It is a shame most Student Ministries have chosen a path of entertainment to address these facts. My goal is to be clear about the heartbeat of this ministry and the course we are charting.
Throughout Scripture we see an emphasis on the Church’s need to “equip the saints for the work of ministry”(Eph. 4:12). Nowhere in Scripture do we see an effort to draw as many people as possible with fun and games while adding a light Gospel message hoping that some might come to know Christ. Time after time crowds gathered around Jesus, but as He spoke and called them to deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Him, the crowds would disperse. Many would head on down the dusty roads looking for someone or something else to follow that would ask less of them. In the flesh the Gospel message can seem ridiculous and even harsh(1 Cor. 1:18), but as the Spirit of God uses the Word of God to soften hearts and opens eyes to see God’s amazing love and grace displayed on the cross, that same message truly becomes Good News!
There are two options… We can lower the bar and keep everything light so everyone who shows up will feel comfortable and be at the same level, or we can raise the bar and challenge everyone to truly surrender, deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Jesus. We trust Jesus wants us to love and challenge the people we are charged with shepherding. This is why the Heritage Student Ministry is committed to teaching the Word of God and challenging students to live it out. We have made a concerted effort to prayerfully and Biblically evaluate everything we do. We are constantly asking not just What CAN we do? but rather, What SHOULD we do? It’s easy to fill up a calendar with events. Busy is easy. Effective is difficult. We want to do everything possible to sow seeds, till the soil, and be prepared to reap a harvest of young people that will follow the Lord for the rest of their lives.
This philosophy of ministry forces us to emphasize biblical teaching, serving, discipleship, worship, and true Biblical fellowship. We do not emphasize events, entertainment and fun. Don’t get me wrong, we have a blast together, but it’s primarily as we serve others and live life together in a covenant community. Our fun is based on more than a trip to Six Flags or summer camp on the beach. Our fun happens as our students sing songs, share the Word and their testimonies and give piggy-back rides to children in an apartment complex. Our students have a blast as they step into the role of primary care-giver for children with disabilities each summer at Camp Barnabas. Rather than looking for and scheduling fun, we pursue opportunities to grow and serve and be stretched. It’s in those moments where we become more aware our own selfishness and need for a Savior. The Lord uses those experiences to increase our faith, deepen our friendships, and experience true joy.
– We choose to pattern our efforts after those of the apostles to the early church:
3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.
As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, 7 but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. 8 We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well,because you had become so dear to us. (1 Thes. 2:3-8)