Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Where's the beef?

Remember the old Wendy’s catch phrase? Recently they have started airing a retro commercial using this old catch phrase. Guy finds a retro “Where’s the beef?” Tshirt at a Goodwill type store. Buys it and walks down the street wearing it. All of the people he passes say “Hey! Where’s the beef?” I loved those commercials with that little old lady in them from way back when though.

What does this have to do with youth ministry? Here we go! Last year myself and my wife were at a revival at a local church. The revival evangelist went through his sermon and when we were done I was left scratching my head. We got to the car and I looked at my wife and said “Where’s the beef?” Of course that struck her as odd but I explained my outburst. During the sermon the evangelist only said Jesus’ name one time and alluded to Christ one other time. Where’s the beef? Is it not Christ who we teach and preach? This also made me worried. How often do I mention Jesus and talk about the Gospel when teaching teens?

I paid more attention to my lessons after that and was okay with how often He was mention but not satisfied. It was more that the sermon I heard but I did see how the curriculum we were using spent an inordinate amount of time just talking about how sinful the current culture is, how kids need to avoid that, how a particular bible verse applies to text messaging, etc. You get the picture. It applied to teens but where was the beef? I’m not downing these wonderful curriculums but I had blindly followed them with not eye on how many times the teens were actually hearing the gospel. So I worked out a plan where every lesson I taught would transition into a Gospel presentation by the end. Not always an altar call but we would discuss the Gospel, how it affects teens etc.

Charles Spurgeon once said “I take my text and make a bee-line to the cross.” Maybe a good spin on that for a youth minister would be “I take my object lesson and make a bee-line for the cross.” Or “I take my pizza party and make a bee-line to the cross.” Or “I take my cool brand new neat guaranteed to make them happy icebreaker and make a bee-line for the cross.” I believe there are certain situations that warrant care when presenting the Gospel and knowing when to be a lamb and when to be a lion with it. But I know not of once instance where the Gospel would not be warranted.

So when planning your next lesson read it over and ask yourself “Where’s the beef.” Find Christ in your lesson and make sure He gets his deserved place in the lesson. High and lifted up! God Bless you guys and just keep swimming!

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