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Why Youth Pastors Need Holy Discontent

Picture of Greg Stier
Greg Stier

“It does not take vast amounts of money to fill a nation with the knowledge of the Gospel. What it takes is ordinary people, on fire with the love of Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit, who are willing to tell their families, friends, and casual acquaintances what God has done for them.” Steve Addison in Movements That Changed the World

First, what is holy discontent? It’s a stirring down deep inside your soul that bubbles over to action. It’s that state of being in which you won’t be satisfied until situation X changes.


For some, situation X is human trafficking.

For others, situation X is the environment, women’s rights, poverty, saving the whales, or saving the babies.

There’s a ton of good and worthy situation X’s out there that need changed.

But as followers of Jesus, the biggest situation X that should drive us is the same one that triggered Jesus to action. In Luke 19:10, Jesus shares his situation X with us: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

Jesus was not satisfied with the situation. He was not content to allow his creation keep driving full speed down the highway to Hell. So He took action. He intervened. He sacrificed everything to change the situation (Philippians 2:5-8.)

Underneath all holy discontent is the all-consuming Holy Spirit, stirring things up in the twitchy souls of the righteously discontented.

In Luke 4:14-15, Jesus is stirred by the Spirit to leave the wilderness and start preaching the Gospel in Galilee. His holy discontent led to a holy revolution against the forces of darkness that is still raging today.

We see it with Samson in Judges 13:25: “and the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.” Samson’s holy discontent led to a lifelong holy revolution against the violent rule of the Philistines.

We see this brand of holy discontent in Acts 17:16-17 with the apostle Paul in Athens: “While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.”

This passage describes Paul’s holy discontent with the words “greatly distressed.” According to The New Testament Greek Lexicon, the Greek word for “greatly distressed” is paraxuno, which means “to sharpen, stimulate, spur on, urge, irritate, provoke, arouse to anger…”

And Paul’s paraxuno (holy discontent) led to a holy revolution in Greece that brought many people to Jesus!

Martin Luther’s holy discontent spurred him to nail The 95 Theses to the Wittenburg Door in Germany, sparking the holy revolution we now know as The Reformation!

What does all of this have to do with you and your youth ministry? Simply this: As I talk to youth leaders across the nation, I’m sensing a growing holy discontentment with the current state of youth ministry. More and more leaders are seeing less and less ministry impact with their teenagers using their traditional youth ministry approach. These youth leaders are sensing that paraxuno in their souls, stirring and spurring them to action.

But action is not enough. We need traction, not just action.

And this is exactly what Gospel Advancing ministry is all about. It’s not a curriculum or a program, but rather a mindset and a movement.

It’s for those who want to revolutionize their youth ministries, energize their teenagers, and Gospelize their communities!

If you’re sick and tired of just going through the motions, and if you’re ready to allow the holy discontent in your soul to lead to a holy revolution in your city, then go to and sign up to join our community of everyday revolutionaries.

Let’s allow the holy discontent in our hearts spur us to holy revolution until every teen, everywhere, has every last chance to put their faith in Jesus!

Join the revolution today.

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