ARLINGTON—Great trials accompany the calling to youth ministry, but it offers even greater rewards, including the opportunity to inspire a generation of future leaders, speakers told participants at the 2014 Youth Ministry Conclave.
“It’s not about your ability, but your availability,” said Ed Newton, executive director of the LIFT tour, a weekend program of Student Leadership University. “And when you say, ‘Here am I Lord; send me,’ it’s not even your message. …You’re called. You’re appointed. Walk in that prophetic ministry that God has called you to.”
Mighty Fortress Christian Fellowship in San Antonio, said sometimes the busy-ness of life causes Christian leaders to forget their primary calling.Sammy Lopez, pastor of
“Oftentimes, we’re so filled up with doing ministry for the Lord that we forget the Lord of our ministry,” he said.
A comfort zone in ministry becomes a dangerous place when God is trying to get his child’s attention, Lopez asserted.
“Some of us today, God is calling us to do something for him,” he told the youth leaders. “But because of our comfort zone, we desire not to go through with it. We’re not ready to listen.”
He encouraged Christian leaders to listen for God’s call and trust in him, because God’s perfect will is far better than what any human thinks is best.
More than 700 youth ministers and leaders in student ministry attended Conclave, sponsored by the Baptist General Convention of Texas and supported through the Cooperative Program unified budget, with ethnic scholarships provided by the Mary Hill Davis Offering for Texas Missions.
At the event, Jane Wilson, youth ministry specialist for Texas Baptists, interviewed Christian leaders from a variety of fields about their experiences.
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Tim Maloney, director of basketball operations for Baylor University, talked about the importance of good leadership on the basketball court. A great coach molds young lives in positive ways, he said. That is what the Baylor basketball program’s coaching staff strives do and teach players to do—be leaders and mentors on and off the court, he said.
Paul and Joel Vinyard, father and son owners of the Babe’s Chicken Dinner House chain, offered insights into their family business and the art of training their employees.
The Vinyards pray before team meetings and teach their employees—many of them teenaged girls—to practice hospitable customer service.
“In every way, we treat them like we want to be treated,” Joel Vinyard said. “The loyalty is extremely high because of that, and job satisfaction is also high.”
Gary Stroope, senior campus pastor at Watermark Community Church in Fort Worth, talked about why Watermark was named by the Dallas Morning News among the top places to work in 2013. The high job satisfaction can be attributed to the intentional relationships among staff members, which are important in all workplaces, especially churches, he insisted.
“It starts with a group of men and women who love each other,” he said. “Life’s too short not to love the people you’re working with.”
That does not imply everyone always is lovable and disagreements never take place, he added. Rather, it means employees feel known, and open communication allows freedom to express personal concerns and issues.
“You sit down, and you love one another, and you talk to them, and you try to understand,” he said.