by Jim Johnston
It’s almost summer and you may be planning what’s going to happen in the young adult ministry in your church this fall. You may be totally focused on all matters of high spiritual value. Let me give you one word of advice: build in some fun. Here’s why: The people you are ministering to work hard every day. Many of them seemingly have a cell phone surgically glued to their ear answering work calls 24-7. Many others work the shifts the more senior workers have turned down. That’s what’s it like to be a 20- or 30-something and in the work force today. You get the grunt work. Or maybe they’ve just been downsized. Or maybe just finding a job out of high school or college has been nearly impossible for them. Maybe their parents are seriously ill or in the middle of divorce. They need a break—and they need some fun in their lives. It’s a tough world out there, and sometimes, if you focus too tightly on ministry and leading people to know and grow in Christ, you get a bit cocooned. You forget how stressful life is—for EVERYONE. So, get out your calendar, select the Bible studies, plan worship experiences and work on service projects for your group. But make sure you do some things entirely for the purpose of having fun. Here are some ideas to get you going…
- Play paintball.
- Go camping.
- Go to a concert.
- Go to the lake.
- Go eat at a new restaurant in town.
- Play softball.
It really doesn’t matter what you do, it just matters that your primary objective is fun. Proverbs 17:22 tells us very clearly that “a joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” There are way too many dry bones and broken spirits all around us. It occurs to me that one of the primary reasons people outside the church don’t give us a chance is because they believe once you become a part of the body of Christ you become a part of the “No Fun Club.” Show them a different side of Christianity. Show them what real fun is all about. And one last thing—have fun yourself. You need it as much as they do. Jim Johnston is the executive pastor of The Bridge Fellowship in Lebanon, Tenn., one of Outreach Magazine’s 75 fastest growing churches in 2013. Jim tries his best to grow and take care of 55 small groups at The Bridge, handles the day to day operations at the church and preaches a little bit too. Jim has been married for 28 years to his wife Tammy, and he has two sons, Spenser 23, and Ethan 16.