Why Being Better Isn’t Better

Do you believe the Word of God?

Seems like a simple, straight forward question with a predictable response in return – coming from people who are giving their lives to the proclamation of scripture. But, let’s be honest. Culture is subtly yet constantly filling our ears with the messages of:

do better.

try harder.

be like that person over there.

be worthy of envy.


So in light of those messages we’re exposed to constantly, are we still believing the Word of God? Or are we buying into the doctrine of self-improvement with a “for Jesus” cherry on top?

Here’s what Scripture says:

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:4-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I don’t know about you – but I used to read that last sentence as hyperbole. Surely Jesus doesn’t mean I can do NOTHING apart from Him. I often operate in a subconscious mindset of “I can do most things without Him, for Him, and when I can’t then I’ll abide and be recharged to go out and do more for Him….on my own strength.”

Friends, this isn’t the gospel.

The gospel says that we are sinners, our flesh is weak, and we are incapable of any competency, sufficiency, goodness, or kingdom productivity apart from the one thing that is necessary – sitting at His feet. God’s design is to give us not just enough knowledge to fuel our self sufficiency – but increasingly enough humility to cease self-sufficiency.

So when it comes to your youth ministry, you don’t need a new strategy, a different audience, better food, cooler games, or to trade up from your given portion and mission field. What you need is to fall so completely on the sustaining power of the gospel that your role goes from carrying out tasks as a facilitator to carrying over grace as an ambassador.

The act of abiding is not akin to stopping to put gas in your car as much as it is the steady pressure of a foot to the pedal—continuing contact in order to continue forward movement.

So, youth worker, though you may be worried and concerned about many things – take heart that what is necessary is simply that you seek Him. His grace is sufficient for you. His blood has made you righteous in the sight of a Holy God. His intercession is producing incense-like prayer and praise to be brought before the throne of mercy and grace. Surely, truly, it is only your intentional and submitted connection to Him which will yield fruit for your ministry as well.

Kristy Fry is a veteran youth worker and a content creator for the G Shades Blog. Feel free to reach out to Kristy anytime at kfry19@icloud.com!

Mike Haynes is a full-time youth pastor and the creator of G Shades Youth Ministry Curriculum. Feel free to reach out to Mike anytime over email at mike@gshades.org
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