What if 3000 people showed up at your youth group?

What would you do if 3000 young people turned up at your youth group next week?

This past week we brought together the leaders and volunteers from seven youth groups who are investing in young people.  They gathered to pray, worship, rehearse what God is doing in their local churches and to sharpen their ministries towards making disciples who make disciples.

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Our alumni, Sarah Keshtkaran from Hamburg, Germany shared a challenge from based on Acts 1:

41Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 47 And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

“I want to be very honest with you. I have been part of my church since over six years now. And we have always been a church. God has been carrying us for over 80 years. But having a church doesn’t mean building disciples. Making disciples will always build the church, but I have seen far too many churches that do not make disciples.

In summer there were about 30 girls added to our group – just like that. But we weren’t ready. They sat in groups of 15 girls, each with one leader.  But now we don’t know where most of them went.  We didn’t even know all of their names, we couldn’t be interested in each one, we couldn’t teach them, we couldn’t build relationships. It was too much for us to take.

For our youth group of 300 young adults we only have five small discipleship groups so far. There are only ten people that we have walked through that process, who are able and willing to lead others in their discipleship walk. So there are over 200 young adults, seeking God but not having more than songs and a sermon once a week.

Yes, God is gracious. And yes, I know, that he has always been building his church with unanswered needs and unperfect people.

But what if tomorrow 3.000 young people showed up at my youth group?

I want to be prepared. I believe the work and the pain that discipleship costs me is worth it. I want to do what Jesus did, I want to go all the stages from the unchurched, to the teachable, to the assistant, to the leader who becomes greater than I am. I want to do it – because it’s worth it.

This passage is often referred to like “this is the dream we’re all living for”, that the Lord would add to our church daily. Just like that, after one speech.

But if I think about it, it might turn out like our greatest nightmare if it would actually happen in my church. Why? Because we’re not prepared.

We want the miracle, but we might first have to get prepared. Do the work that Jesus did, so we’re ready for the miracle.

The church was able to take these 3.000 in, to have fellowship with them, to break bread with each one of them, to pray and share and be together because there were enough leaders among whom they could split that number up.

They didn’t have big church buildings. They didn’t have speakers so all 3.000 or 4.000 could hear the preacher and the worship team better. They had living rooms. And I don’t know about your living room, but mine isnt big enough for 3.000 people. And maybe that isn’t God’s purpose for living rooms. But we read that it worked for the early church. So how did it work?

I read of 72 having been sent out and trained by Jesus and of 12 very close Apostles. That’s 84 leaders. 3.000 new believers. That means 36 for each one. That sounds far more like a living room number.

The church was able to grow because Jesus had done the work of leading people through all the four stages: start – grow – lead – expand. He had done the work and the church was prepared.”

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jstevens

Joy has 20 years youth ministry experience and serves as the Development Director for Reign Ministries.

Categories: Volunteer Training

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