Equipped to Serve

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”                   Ephesians 4:11-15 (NIV)

Ministry in general, and youth ministry in particular, has long been misunderstood in its purpose by the church as a whole. Does ministry exist to evangelize the unsaved? Do our churches have classrooms for kids and teenagers so they can be kept busy while parents attend “real” church? Is it so we can have our weekly dose of positive and motivational feelings to get us through the coming week? While there may be some value to these reasons and others like them, the Scriptures seem clear as to why Jesus has called men and women the world over to dedicate their lives to formal ministry; to equip God’s people to live lives dedicated to the cause of Christ.

There is much that the modern Christian must contend with in our culture. Jesus never promised ease, comfort, or convenience when He brazenly challenged us to pick up our crosses, leave all behind, and follow in the path that He set for us. First of all, our adversary, the devil, never ceases in his attempts at causing division and conflict among the saints. If we are too busy fighting one another, we cannot take up arms in a unified front of spiritual warfare against him! Thus it falls to the ministers of the Gospel to lead God’s people in being unified in our cause for Christ.

Jesus also warned us about false prophets and teachers that would arise in the last days and lead many astray with their doctrines of men and demons. How many well-intentioned, passionate brothers and sisters have had their spiritual growth come to a grinding halt because they were deceived by sharp-tongued, charismatic “spiritual” leaders who really only had their own personal interests at heart? It is the purpose of the church to stand firmly on the foundation of God’s holy, revealed Word against “every wind of teaching” that comes and goes with every fleeting fancy of false prophets. The minister of the Gospel is to be a beacon of truth that lights the path back to Scripture for every disciple of Christ to follow.

Evangelists, pastors, and teachers are called to look for the gradual growth of their congregations in understanding deeper truths of Scripture and maturing in Christ. Too may of our churches are locked in a spiritual arrested development, having to rehash the same “milk” of the Gospel over and over again and never broaching the “meatier” matters of conforming to the image of Christ (Hebrews 5:11-14). God’s Word is more than altar calls and sinners’ prayers. It divides soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:12) and reaches to our most inward parts. It is life, sustenance, and power to those who would access the blessings that God offers us freely. It transforms us from the inside out and threatens to do more through us than we can ever ask or imagine! (Ephesians 3:20)

The gifts of the Gospel are there for the taking and it falls to divinely-appointed, Holy Spirit-empowered shepherds to teach God’s flock how to recognize, embrace, and fully use them to the glory of Christ our Savior! This is what it means to equip God’s people. This is what it means to minister.

 

First Blog Post!

Hey There Ladies and Gentlemen!

Welcome to our youth blog page! This will be an area where you can check in for a quick devotion and respond using the comments in the section.

We’ll start this blog off with a quick look at an old familiar passage.  If you look in 1 Samuel 17, you’ll find the story of David fighting Goliath.  Some of you may have heard this story a thousand times and, some of you reading this may get to read it for the first time.  Whatever the case may be, upon the beginning of the chapter, we meet Goliath.  Goliath is a big man.  He stands out in a crowd and no one would ever want to pick on him– not only because he’s big– but also because he is well protected.  Goliath wears heavy armor and carries heavy armor, and because he’s afraid of getting bumped or bruised while on the battle field, he has a man walk in front of him with more armor.

If you skip down to verse 12, you get to meet David.  He was a younger and smaller man than Goliath.  He tended his father, Jesse’s, flocks.  David was the youngest of his brothers who were at the battle field with King Saul, following his command.  While they were “fighting” on the front lines, David was instructed by his father to take some food out to his brothers on the battle field.

Skipping forward a few more verses, we find David in conversation with the king.  He has become curious after seeing Goliath and wants to know who will stand up to the cowardly giant.  Saul at first says, “No, little boy! You’re just a little boy and he’s been a soldier since he was a baby!”  Scary baby!  Okay, maybe that wasn’t the exact wording but that may have been how David interpreted it.  His reply to that was simply, “I watch over my father’s sheep and when a lion or a bear come to take my sheep, I hunt it down and take my sheep back!  You don’t mess with my sheep!  And that is what will happen to Goliath!”

That being said, Saul says “Okay, little boy” and gives him his, the king’s, armor to wear.  Because David is a boy, that doesn’t work. So he goes up to Goliath in casual slacks and a Star Wars t-shirt.  Maybe not.  But he went into the battle field unprotected.

Try to picture this!  On one hill, we have this huge guy wearing loads of armor and, he probably looks pretty terrifying!  On the other hill, we have David, the little boy who works with lambs all day.  The competition is intense.  To make matters worse, Goliath is carrying actual weapons and David, who is only carrying 5 stones which he found in the river.  David is vulnerable.  Goliath is well suited for battle.

Just like any other great story, the underdog wins!  David uses his huge faith in God and a small smooth stone to kill the giant.  David’s faith wasn’t small and, it allowed him to do huge things.  School is about to start back up shortly and, for many of us, there will be giants waiting for us when we get there.  Whether it is a certain teacher or a difficult subject, there is a normal pattern of anxiety that occurs at the beginning of a school year.  What are some of the giants you are getting ready to face?  David became vulnerable to the point of death so that God could use him.  With God by your side, those giants at school will fall, some quickly, others not.  May God give you the courage you need as you go into the new school year!

Jenny Drennon

First ESM Post

Hey everyone!

I’m just testing a post from my phone and seeing if I can throw it up to the ESM page. We’ll see!

Heaven

Another sample post.

And another line of text.

The Cross

This is a test to demonstrate a few posts.

Bible

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!