This month's article that i wrote for the Tasmanian Anglican...

Cross Training

Chris Bowditch shares ideas about youth ministry.

When I take the time to sit down and think about some of the major themes of the bible one that I constantly come back to is 'sacrifice'.

Throughout the Old Testament we see that the Israelites are required to perform a whole bunch of different sacrifices for different sins in order to be made right before God. I also see sacrifices made by people in order to follow God: for example, Abraham sacrifices his security. Then when I move to the New Testament, I see the clear sacrifice of Jesus for us. Then there are the apostles and early church members, many who give up lives of relative security to follow Jesus.

Our God is a God who is willing to make sacrifices so that we can be in a meaningful relationship with him. I think our God is also a God who asks his people to make sacrifices in order to follow him and as God's people doing God's work in youth ministry we are going to have to be ready to make sacrifices.

An example is a member of our parish who gave up his full-time employment and left our church to take up a traineeship in youth ministry with nearby parish. That is a massive sacrifice and perhaps God is not asking the same from you, but my suspicion is that he is asking all of us to make sacrifices to make the changes required to see young people come to know Jesus.

Jesus said, 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.' (Mark 8:34 NIV).

If we are earnestly seeking God's will for the growth of young people in our church, then we must be prepared to put everything we have, and everything we hold dear, on the line.

God might not ask us to give it up, but we must be ready and willing to do so if he does.