- In his Lectures to My Students, Charles Spurgeon left virtually no stone unturned while impressing the need for private integrity which leads to public credibility upon his college students. From prayer to "keeping the tools sharp," to the work of the Holy Spirit, to the ways in which a pastor/teacher might use his voice, Spurgeon understood and emphasized that ministry leads us to a total investment of ourselves into the work of the ministry.
- I have never not tried to serve to the best of my capability.
When I was Youth Pastor at my dad’s church, (my dad was born on September 21, 1904) (I deeply am sad that he died and I was unable to continue working in the church). If I have any disappointment in ministry it’s that I could not have continued to work with dad.)
I was at the top of my "game" working as a Youth Pastor in 1963-66. It is notable enough that we used the same "game plan" at several churches thereafter. The program that I had developed at RBC in 1965 was discipleship at its best. While I was active in High School, in sports, football and basketball, I was still very active in the youth ministry at the church. We were actually active all week with the kids.
The strategy of work that I developed at RBC was carried with me throughout our ministry. My work ethic was developed when I was at RBC. Now I was not aware of all this, "but for the love of the game" was the reason for the work. When you are in love with the Lord, and you sense the call of ministry to teach and preach, it seems natural to put your best effort into your work. In those days, working with my dad, was the ultimate place to work. He was always supportive and helped me in every way possible to accomplish the goals of ministry with the church and youth. This was my objective when I was pastor, to work with and support those who were working with the youth.
The principle holds true in any ministry, at any time, when the church, the pastor and youth pastor can be on the same page of effort, you will have success in ministry. I have seen some good youth ministries in a few churches over the years and even in the 21st century, no less.
I hear from time to time from former youth students saying "the best youth department we had was when you and Charity were at our church." I appreciate that very much, because I loved the youth as much as the ministry itself.
When I went to Wooster, Charity and I spent hours with the youth of the church. They were our life on Sunday as well as during the week. Our home was always blessed with a number of youth during the week. We spent hours developing programs, schedules, procedures, and principles of ministry This process continued at Calvary Baptist Church, Madison Baptist Church, Victory Baptist Church and then First Baptist Church.
In every church we worked hard to develop a youth ministry that would strengthen and encourage the youth in the Lord Jesus Christ. The objective was always discipleship. The teaching of God’s Word was always priority over activity. The teaching of the Word and teaching them how to know the Word was always the first priority. From Southall Baptist Church in 1967 to FBC in 1990's we desired to help the youth love the Word. We were always giving Bible assignments for the youth to do during the week.
While we had some great activities, my main purpose was to teach them the Word of God.
- The goal was to see those who professed Christ to become true believers. We wanted each youth to become a Christian who loved the Lord and lived for Christ in their daily lives; and if the Lord called them into ministry, they would be ready to answer the call.
We never had Saturday at the Beach, or downtown Soul Winning. We never tried to see how many we could see saved. We never felt that Camp experience was the best sign to gauge the level of Christian commitment.
We were not only interested in seeing them come to Christ and attend Sunday School, but also the Worship service, and Sunday evening as well. We generally had as many on Sunday evening as we would in Sunday School.
We kept our youth busy in the Word. One assignment I remember was "Outline the book of Matthew." Once I gave a Dickson Bible to the person who did the best job giving the overall view of the Bible.
Several of the young men and their girlfriends (later to be their wives) went to Bible College, and they said to me later, that their working in their church youth department prepared them for Bible College. And those men and their wives are today still in ministry and pastoring churches.
One young man who was our piano player at sixteen, became a song writer in Nashville. One young man who sung specials in our class, became an evangelist, and for over twenty-five years with his family has served the Lord.
One of my objectives in our youth department was to have the youth involved in every part of the program. My objective was to have them conduct the class. We gave them real responsibility in the ministry. We trained the leaders and then they would train others.
I think what we tried to do was to give them a real love for the Lord and the love to work for the Lord.
I have just touched on a brief description of the work with youth and adults in this ministry.
Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant Proof read by Charity Whisnant #52