Way, way back in the day I loved to make cool PowerPoints for our ministry.  It’s different now, but in 2006, for a small town, using a projector was still cutting edge.

I had sound effects, custom made graphics, awesome YouTube videos (they were still brand new!), trivia questions, and all sorts of awesome slide transitions.

It worked and it was fun.  The kids really liked it, and we had a blast with me up front bantering and pulling kids up and laughing. 

It took me 3-4 hours to prepare it.  Sometimes more.

Seemingly out of nowhere, the Lord convicted me.  Was that the best way I could be using my time?

With some genuine dismay, I went to our ministry the next week with the plan of not turning on the projector. 

To my shock, the night seemed exactly the same.  I pulled kids up front and bantered and did my announcements.  The kids laughed, I laughed, and we still had the same kind of “magic.”  Not one kid asked why I wasn’t using the projector.

So, while I missed that little flash, I started using those 3-4 hours to directly mentor more kids.

It’s Not All Bad

It’s not!  You must have some sort of draw to have teens come through your door.  Big events or splashy lights or whatnot can be a fantastic tool for ministry. If taken too far, though, it can overpower your success in ministry.

So How Do You Decide What is OK?

The importance of what we do in youth ministry is beyond measure, so we must be intentional and careful in the things we do. Here’s what to ask:

1. Is it God Honoring?
Do you think Jesus would be happy to know that this event/item/program is a part of your ministry?

2. Is it truly the best return of time and money?
Will your time or money be more effective in the Kingdom elsewhere?

3. Will it hurt other ministries in town?
This is key, especially for rural ministry.  If you suddenly become overly flashy, you might start stealing kids from other churches.  There is no Kingdom advantage to that.  Ever.

4. Is it Authentic?
Flash might draw a crowd, but is it covering up poor ministry?  Kids aren’t stupid – they will see past it and not stick around without the authenticity that they are desperate for.

5. Have you prayed about it?
We have to seek the Lord in every aspect of ministry. It is His in the first place.  He is the one that ultimately will guide us. 

If you had to add a question for discerning ministry flash, what would it be?  I’d love to know your thoughts.  Comment below!