This past weekend, I got to take my family out to a local lake for a few hours. In the midst of losing flip-flops in the muck, my boys really got into digging a hole just above the water line. It started with a few handfuls of mud dug out by my oldest son, but quickly became an exercise of Dig-to-China proportions, requiring him to enlist the help of his little brother (and even his sisters). I was never the mud-pie kind of kid, so my first reaction when I saw my boys shoulder deep, reaching for even more mud was: Gross!
My kids were covered in lake mire and sitting in a mud hole large enough to swallow a shovel, but they didn’t have a shovel. This wall all bare-handed effort! It was a lot of work to dig that hole; and there was no real point to it, but they did the work anyway as if it wasn’t any trouble at all. Were these the same kids who’d dragged their feet through a little yard work just a few hours ago? Why were they so willing to work so hard out here in their little lake hole?
Because it was fun.
Ministry with boys is like that. It can be like scraping enamel to get boys to discipline themselves to study the Bible, pray,show up to youth ministry stuff or engage in any number of other things that can spur healthy spiritual growth. But how hard is it to get a guy involved in something he thinks is fun?
I’m not suggesting our ministry to boys is all about dodge ball and crazy games. In fact, a lot of our boys won’t think our newest great youth group game is fun at all. But what if we got involved in what our students are already doing to have fun? What if we engage them with a spiritually vibrant life (ours or another youth leader or mentor) in the midst of them enjoying life? What if we could train a cadre of men to lead boys into spiritually edifying conversation (a huge task on its own, I know) while playing XBox, pool,whatever that Star Wars role playing game is called or…just digging holes?
Want to have an effective ministry with boys? Have fun.