Confession: I’m sometimes very judgmental on Social Media.
When you post a picture of a Bible, a journal, and a cup of coffee and say “LOVE this time of my day” I write it off as fake.
When you post a picture of a Bible verse from youversion, I wonder if you only read the Bible to find a verse to post.
And when you post a picture of students with their hands up in worship and say “WOW WOW WOW the HOLY SPIRIT CAME” I wonder if he really did?
I’ve been wrestling a lot with the expectancy for the Holy Spirit to move at Youth Group. As a Youth Pastor, I’m the spiritual leader of our ministry. As a Father, I’m the spiritual leader of my son. As a Husband, I’m the spiritual leader of my wife and our family. I’ve been wrestling with the idea that the extent of expectancy I have for the Spirit to move in my ministry, my family is proportional to what he does.
Now hear what I’m saying, because as I read that, it seems like it could give the wrong impression. I believe the Spirit of the Lord moves when and how he wants, and no human can tell the Spirit what he can and can’t do.
But I wonder if there are things I do that limit the Power of the Spirit. I wonder if there’s things in my life that cut out room for the Spirit to be at work in my life as much as he could be.
I believe there are a number of ways we can and do limit the work of the Spirit, and I want to get through these things in my ministry. The simple Truth is that the Spirit of the Lord is present in our Youth Groups every week, but too often we get complacent with where we are, and that this complacency crushes our expectancy.
The first way we grow complacent is when we become familiar with what He has already done. If we’ve seen the Spirit work before, we expect him to move in that same way. Many of us have had an amazing night of worship and students just stayed singing and praying and confessing sins to each other and leaders, and lives changed! And now when we have a night of worship, we think we know what God wants to do, and when he doesn’t do it the same way he did before, we get disappointed because the Spirit didn’t “show up” that night. We get familiar with what he’s done, and quit looking for what he wants to do.
We let complacently squash expectations when we get Comfortable. Some of us go to churches that, if someone started praying in tongues during worship, it would be an awkward situation. If a student interrupted your message because they received a message from the Lord, that could lead to a very uncomfortable situation.
Not only that, but some of us have found a great routine for our programs. Doors open, students come in, we sing a song, we do announcements, we sing 2 more songs, we preach the message, and we close. If the Spirit showed up, we don’t actively think, when preparing our services, that God could move in it. We pray for the individual elements, but there’s no real expectancy of the power to be displayed.
I think that last part is directly correlated to the third way we lose expectancy, and that’s the unknown. I don’t know what would happen, what I would do or my students do, if a student stood up with a message from the Lord. When I read about the Acts of the Spirit in the early church, it seems so foreign to me, I wouldn’t know how to react to some of those things.
We lose expectancy because we haven’t seen the spirit truly move in our Youth Ministries before, so we have no idea what it would look like for it to happen.
So I’m praying for more reliance on the Spirit. I want to see crazy things happen in my Youth Ministry. There are students who need healing, be it emotional, spiritual, or physical, and I know only the Spirit can heal them. I want to see my students have hearts that are broken open and set on fire for sharing the gospel with their friends, and no message I preach can cause that to happen, only the spirit.
I don’t know how the Spirit is going to move, but I’m expecting him to.