“You cannot grow a ministry without the anointing of God”
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times. It was the most common refrain of nearly every instructor in Bible College. With their gray hair and weathered skin showing the wisdom behind their statements, they would make that proclamation.
But the older I get, the more I disagree with that statement.
Now before you report me to the organization and tell Jesus on me, let me explain.
In Youth Ministry, we have a misguided view of success. A lot of times, we equate numerical growth with anointing. We call a large Student Ministry “successful” and as much as we may disagree, privately, we call a smaller one unsuccessful.
The problem with that statement is that it equates “growth” with “anointing”. And that misguided view of anointing is dangerous for two reasons.
- We feel like if it’s growing, it must be anointed.
- We feel that if it is NOT growing, it must not be anointed.
And both of those statements are not inherently true.
Just because a church or a ministry is “growing” does not automatically mean they are being completely lead by the Spirit of God. It can be a good indicator, but it does not explicitly mean that God’s Spirit is there.
In Student Ministry, you can be a talented speaker, a great organizer or amazing at connecting with students. You can read enough books to know how to lead a Youth department and growth can happen because of that. We can learn the ins and outs of Student Ministry enough that we becoming talented Youth Leaders. And our Student Ministries will grow numerically. And everyone will think they’re “Successful”.
But we cannot afford to mistake TALENT for ANOINTING.
We cannot afford to trust in our own abilities so much that we ignore God’s abilities. We cannot allow ourselves to become so well versed in learning how to be a Student Pastor that we neglect the very primal aspect of allowing God’s Spirit to lead and guide us.
I am huge proponent of personal growth. I think we are at fault if we do not make use of every resource available to us. I think it is our responsibility to continue to become better Youth Workers every day of our lives. This entire site is geared around that very objective!
But talent is not what changes lives, His Spirit does.
Talent may give you a momentary jolt, but His Spirit is what makes growth sustainable. Our talent and skills can never override the voice of God in our lives and in our ministries.
As much time as we spend developing our skills in leadership, communication and ins and outs of Youth Ministry, we should spend every bit as much time training ourselves to hear His voice. We should place equal priority on personal and spiritual growth.
There is no amount of talent that can do what one ounce of the Spirit of God can do.
There is no substitute for the Power of God in your Student Ministry. No amount of programming or creative ideas can ever replace the Spirit of God in your Student Ministry. It’s imperative to develop and institute those things within our Student Ministry, but always as a supplement and never as a replacement to His Spirit and His Anointing.
So, with respect to my professors…
You CAN grow a youth group without the anointing of God.
You CAN grow a youth group on talent alone.
You CAN grow a Student Ministry depending on your own wisdom
But not one that is sustainable.
Not one that is truly successful.
Not one that changes lives.
Not one that has a lasting impact.
And definitely not one that changes your world.