Most questions in youth ministry I can answer. How to do a retreat? Is it normal for my child to have trouble fitting in with the group? Where can I buy an octopus filet?
One question that has always troubled me is What can I do about my student’s apathy? Ultimately, how do I make a student that doesn’t care about God start caring about God? Most would even settle for caring about church stuff.
I’ve read a few blogs on the subject. None of them seem to really give good advice.
This morning I felt led to read from Ezekiel 37. This is probably the only story from Ezekiel that most people are familiar with. It is referred to as the valley of the dry bones.
God takes Ezekiel to a valley that was full of bones. This is a vision – the 3rd in the book of Ezekiel. Looking at all of the bones God ask Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?” His answer leaves the outcome completely to God. God commands Ezekiel to prophesy twice and the bones are risen and restored.
A few things to take away:
– Hopelessness – As Ezekiel stands over this valley, he was hopeless to see change. When God asked Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?” There was NO hope that Ezekiel could do that. In verse 11, God says that the hope of Israel is lost, they are the dry bones. As parents look at their children and try to work to overcome apathy there isn’t a lot of hope. As youth workers are teaching students every week and not seeing them grow there doesn’t feel like a lot of hope.
– Hope is in the Lord – Ezekiel’s answer was that only God could give life to these bones. God does say in verse 11 that the hope of Israel is lost, but goes on to give a message for Ezekiel that He wasn’t through with Israel. It is through His power that the nation of Israel will live.
As adults we want a spiritual formula, plan, or program that will turn students into passionate followers of Jesus. God’s message is that it does not work that way. Our programs and plans do not give life to those that are apathetic toward Him. As we look at our ministries and think this is hopeless, we should remember the story of Ezekiel. When there is not hope in our power, there is hope in the Lord.
The main lesson of this story is: When the spirit of God is present, God’s people are enabled to live. Allow and pray for His spirit to work in the lives of those that are apathetic toward the things of God.