I am seat belt Charismatic. I believe the Holy Spirit is alive and active in today’s culture and church. Jesus does heal. I strongly argue that the prompting and leading of the Holy Spirit needs to be the fuel of our youth ministry philosophy, programs, models, and teachings.
The youth ministers that really understand the power of the Holy Spirit in and through their youth ministries are the Vineyard, Four Square, and Assemblies of God folks.
It is healthy to have a balanced view of the Holy Spirit in our youth ministry. The study of pneumotology would not be a bad idea to consider. Veli-Matti Karkkainen has a wonderful book titled: Pneumatology: The Holy Spirit in Ecumenical, International, and Contextual Perspective. Also Clark Pinnock has book titled: Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit. I actually wrote a review here.
I don’t think it would be a bad idea to have more of a Trinitarian presences in our youth ministry–Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit. A healthy youth ministry paradigm would be: Jesus, Apologetics, Prayer, Fellowship, Food, Social Justice, Sacraments, Scripture, Doctrine, Worship, and Missional work in the city.
Questions to wrestle with:
1. Are you teaching on the Holy Spirit? If so, are teaching through Acts? And talking about the sign and wonders of our age?
2. Are some of your students more spirit sensitive?
3. How many of your students have dabbled with dark spirits, namely wigi boards, fortunetellers, palm reading, tarot cards? You would be surprised.
4. How often is the Spirit leading your youth ministry outside of the church walls? What if the Spirit is not calling your youth group inside of the church? What if He wants you to leave the youth room and go into your city and start praying for people? Think Acts!
5. What are some of the spiritual gifts your students possess? Any tongues? Any healing? Any interpretation?
6. Do you provide environments in your youth ministry for your students to listen to the Holy Spirit? Mike King in his book: Presence-Centered Youth Ministry suggests taht listening prayer in silence and solitude is a great place to start. Start with two minutes of silence during a gathering, and gradually increase the time as your youth become familiar with the practice. I read his book here
7. Is your worship leader willing to worship for 1 hour if he/she is sensing the Spirit is moving?
8. How programmatic are you? Do you tightly schedule your youth program? Do you have to write down prayer in your schedule?
9. How much are you (the youth pastor) seeking the Holy Spirit and asking Him the direction and mission of your youth ministry? When is the last time you were stirred like Nehemiah was? Nehemiah was deeply burden by the sin around him and he was so moved that he moved back to Jerusalem to rebuild a wall.
My point: I don’t think many youth pastors have been “stirred” for a long time. It is so easy to go on auto-pilot and be comfortable with our youth ministry, our office, our nice church kids, and our some-what nice YM budget.
My comforting challenge: Take a prayer walk through your city during the night hours. Pray for your town, your family, your church, and your students.