Most people realize the enormous part momentum plays in ministry growth. It is literally started when someone is brought in or promoted to a certain position.
Although they might be saddened that your predecessor has left, the people are excited that you have come. “How may I help?” they ask. Some say, “If you ever need anything, you just let me know.” Actually, there might be one or two who provide financial help for your ministry passions. This season of blessing usually lasts three to six months and is often referred to as your “Honeymoon”.
Is it possible that this so called honeymoon could last forever or should we store all that we can, in times of plenty, like a squirrel preparing for winter; asking ourselves if we have gathered enough food to last the harsh cold?
Does there have to be a winter? For that matter, does there have to be, summer, a season of intense heat or fall, the season of eminent death? Why can’t it always be spring? You know, the gentle breezes carrying the smell of fresh cut grass and the perfume from the thousands of flowers that are stretching to catch the sunbeams that fall like gold from the heavens. It’s a paradise season where birds sing songs that resound through the valleys. The hills are alive with the sound of… you get the picture.
One way to keep this new relationship thriving is by setting the mood. In other words, creating an atmosphere. Have you ever noticed or experienced a leader that has come to a new place and seems to be a breath of fresh air to the people? Atmosphere will help you remain fresh.
Some think atmosphere and momentum are the same. They are not. Momentum draws its strength from atmosphere. What is atmosphere? It is creating your environment to be inviting to the age group you are trying to reach.
Recently, I met with some Youth Pastors, in my area, for prayer. The Youth Pastor hosting the prayer decided we should meet in his teen room. While we were praying, he asked God to help him reach the youth in his community. Some Youth Pastors have a burning desire to reach students but do not realize that it takes more than belief in God for this to happen. James 2:20b states, “Faith without actions is worth nothing?”
Now, for those who have just read the last line and strongly do not agree, note that MTV does not believe in or promote the God of the Bible and they reach millions of teens. I am not suggesting that we throw God out of our youth services; however, I am suggesting that we do something besides expect God to do everything.
For instance, how does the space, you have been given, appear to your students. Are the walls white with an occasional black mark? Is the carpet brown or some other 1970’s color? Do you have the standard dark brown metal folding chairs in which some are bent, paint is scraped off, or bear the initials from one of the delusional teens you pastor? Are the walls littered with album flats and posters, some recent as well as some that are definitely collector’s items? Do you have a portable stereo that has the plastic cassette cover missing? If I just described your room then you are a candidate for an atmosphere face-lift.
Create an atmosphere! Paint the room, throw away the old posters, get a local college or university (that has an art department) to supply you with a couple of students to help design the room. Add a curtain to one wall, the whole wall, to spite traditional thinking, there does not have to be a window to have a curtain.
Have you thought about special effects lighting? At forty dollars each, par-cans will do wonders. If you are not sure how you want the room to look, get some preliminary sketches, or you could ASK YOUR TEENS, keeping in mind your church elders may not appreciate black as a color scheme.
Is it possible for an endless honeymoon? No, but you can have an incredible marriage. Can there be an eternal spring? Yes, just understand that springtime always produces storms. April showers bloom May flowers. You can’t have growth without rain. But know this; James 1:3 (Living Bible) says, “For when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow.” My dad always told me that nothing good comes easy. If it does, it’s not worth having. If you want results that are outside the box, you first must think outside the box. Remember, creating an atmosphere means you, the leader, must do more than just believe great things will happen. You must actively pursue great things.