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Fighting Discouragement in Youth Ministry

Picture of Greg Stier
Greg Stier

“David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6

Talk about a bad day. Not only were David’s two wives kidnapped by the Amalekites, but the families of all of his small army of warriors had been kidnapped as well. Now he had a potential mutiny on his hands.

What was David’s first response? verse 4 of the same chapter tells us, “So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.”

But, as his tear ducts dried and the cold reality of the situation hit him hard, he decided to do something about it. Sure, he eventually made a plan to go and attack the Amalekites and rescue their families, but there was something else that he had to do first that seemed way less strategic…“But David found strength in the LORD his God.”

How did he find it? Did he write a brand new Psalm? Did he bust out his well-worn harp and sing an old one? Did he do a prayer walk around the camp until his discouragement was replaced by divine power? Did he dust off the scrolls of the Pentateuch and read until his heart was fully re-energized?

The answer: While we don’t know exactly what he did we do know this, he did what he had to do.

I don’t know about you but, when the discouragement that inevitably accompanies ministry descends like a dark cloud upon me, I become paralyzed. There is no action plan or ministry strategy that can shake me out of it. At times like these I have to do what I have to do to find strength in the Lord my God. Sometimes it’s reading, praying, worshipping…whatever it takes to find my strength and encouragement in the Lord.

Then I can rise up and, like David, do what the situation requires. Its at these times that my tear ducts are dried out but my heart is overflowing with divine power, ready to attack the situation with holy vigor and supernatural strength.

What’s discouraging you right now in youth ministry? Are your teens not responding like you wish they would? Is your paycheck shrinking because church offerings are down? Is your spouse upset because of how many nights you are gone doing ministry stuff? Are there some charter members at your church who don’t like your style? Are gossipy politics disguised as “personality differences” ruining your time in the office?

Whatever you are facing, whatever it takes, find your strength in the Lord your God. How you do that is up to you and the God who is waiting to strengthen you.

Unlikely Fighter

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The story of how a fatherless street kid overcame violence, chaos, and confusion to become a radical Christ follower.

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