Hayley James

sustaining youth workers - holy spirit

by mjjames26/10/2009

this week we have had a mission at our church. we've spent the week hanging out with children, young people and adults within the community. we've run lots of events, held drop ins and gone out onto the streets to talk and pray with people. and it has been fantastic. over the week we haven't met with hundreds of people, or seen hundreds of signs and wonders, but there have been stories of God working in the lives of people, through circumstances, friendships and prayer, we've seen people healed and people come to jesus and we've begun to renew our relationship with the community in which we live. but the most amazing part of the whole week has been the overwhelming and awe inspiring presence of God.

throughout the week God has done lots of things in me personally. he has dealt with issues in my life, rooted out sin and its causes, lifted me up and called me out, he has filled me to over flowing with his spirit, renewed my desire for him with a thirst that seems unquenchable and has freed me from my own limitations and those others have placed on me. he has restored, refreshed and reinspired me and i feel amazed at his presence with me and sad that i never knew this level of intimacy before.  he has set me on fire and i am ready to burn for him (as john wesley would say).

and in the midst of all of this what really hit me was the need we as christian workers (and christians in general) have to stay connected to God through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. and when i say connected i don't mean in that nice pleasant way that us christians often talk about, the polite and proper (and often very english) relationship with our  saviour. i mean the full out, completely adandoned, face down on the floor, i am all yours jesus, connected. letting go of the element of control that we think we have and passing over all authority to Him.

i have never in my life been as impacted by the holy spirit as i was this week - because for me it was something new.  it was a new level of intimacy that came with the Holy Spirit's presence, as if God was stood right in front of me and i was bowing in front of his throne worshipping Him, as if God was stood in front of me physically pulling out the things that were stopping me from being who he created me to be and as if God was sat next to me and we were having a wonderful conversation. it is an intimacy that has remained - not just in the prayer meetings, or our worship events, but in walking down the road, going to work and driving on the motor way. an intimacy that eclipses all other things but in doing so makes everything shine brighter and life seem more real - it brings everything alive. never in my life have i felt so sure of God as i do today and i am convinced that we as christians need to continually seek this presence, continaully seek the holy spirit and pray for the power of God in our lives.

as workers in the christian faith we need this more so, because how can we encourage people to be passionate about something and fully abandon themselves to it if we don't. how can we take people on to a place we have never experienced. i love the idea of contagious christianity and its something i want in my life - i want to be contagious, i want to set the temperature of a room, not just rise to it and i want to press into God with all that i have and hopefully in the process inspire others to do likewise. because, lets just be honest, most of us are in this work because we want the young people we serve to know the intimate, loving ,forgiving and restoring relationship that Jesus offers us, and because we want them to be completly abandoned to Him - in their whole lives.

now this might sound really counter cultural, but lets just stop for a minute thinking about what needs to be done for others. lets stop thinking about where we want our young people to be, what programmes we need to run for them, what issues we need to explore and lets take a moment to look at ourselves. are we in the place that God wants us to be? (for that matter are we where we want to be?), are we alive and passionate for our God? do we truely believe the things we are teaching our young people? (and i mean 100% sold out to them?) do we push out in our faith, seeking more of God consistently? do we do what we ask of our young people? where is our faith? where are we with God? why are we in that place? what else do we want? how will we go about it?

one of my biggest approaches to leadership is to set a good example (i don't always manage it - i'm not prefect) but i try. and yet somehow this 'theory' had not passed over into my faith. now i'm not saying i was spiritually cold but i also wasn't on fire and therefore probably not the best example to my young people. this week has changed that. i'm not even looking back. i'm deciding that i don't want to be that way any longer and i am moving forward and pressing into God. today will be different.

and my hope is that as i get fired up, it will create a difference in me, not for my glory but God's. as i get more connected to God i would know God more and he would be able to use me more. as i learn to hear his voice more effectively my work would be impacted as i am more led by Him. as i rely on God more, i will step out more and take more risks and as i do so my faith will grow as will my ministry. i want to see young people on fire for God, i want to see their lives completly transformed. but maybe before that can happen i need to let God transform me.

if we want to sustain ourselves as youth workers and as christians we need to start seeking this out. because we CAN NOT do this in our own strength! we cannot keep ourselves fresh and alive (especially when in ministry) unless we are held up by Jesus. and i don't just want to be fresh and alive, i want to be a pioneer, i want to be a conquerer, i want to see growth in the number of people in this world that love Jesus, i want to see growth in the young people that i work with and personally i want to know my saviour more.

i know at the minute this is all really new and fresh to me and i know that i've had similar experiences before which i have let go cold, so i understand if you are sat there thinking that in a few weeks i'll be back to 'normal'. but i am sincere, i do not want to go back and that make take discipline, hard work and effort on my part, but you know what - it will be worth it - because i'm not anticipating staying still - i want more and so i'm going to press into God and see what happens.

so i ask you to pray for me as i seek to step out in this new phase of my life. and i ask you to consider joining me on this journey - for your sake and that of your young people.  

let me know your thoughts and i will keep you updated on my progress.


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Youth Work

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