Floodlights and Spotlights
Some students naturally shine when they walk through the door of your student room. Their personality, appearance or verbal skills make them stand out from the crowd. Others will shine through athletic or academic achievements at school or travel competition. Many students however will only shine when they have opportunity to use their gifts and talents within the student ministry platform. While this creates huge opportunity for student ministry and for the individual youth, remember one principal: Floodlights are usually better than spot lights. Let me share six benefits of floodlights over spotlights:
- Flood lights allow students to move in and out of the beams with greater anonymity. If they need the positive attention to blossom they can move to the center. If they are more inclined to serve and grow without attention they may gravitate more to the edges where light is diminished. This approach provides students with greater flexibility along with opportunity.
- Flood lights lessen the temptation to focus ministry attention on those who are natural standouts like the athlete, magnet, beauty queen, pied piper and general extrovert.
- Flood lights allow you to spread opportunity and attention more equally among youth. Giving students equal amounts of attention will not go unnoticed. Parents of students who do not naturally shine will quickly move to your corner. Students who have a low opinion of themselves will take notice and translate your deliberate strategy into authentic concern and love. Shy students will feel more comfortable, less intimidated as well as a sense of ownership in the ministry.
- Flood lights send the message to the church and community that your front door is wider than that of pop-culture, wider than that of the world with loads of acceptance, love, and support distributed with equity.
- Floodlights give the hard to love, hard to know, and hard to handle student the opportunity to move out the shadows towards the light.
- Floodlights unite students of diverse backgrounds, family systems and ethnic origins. Conversely, spot lights lend themselves to division, separation, and individualism.
As you implement your strategic student ministry vision remember to reach for your floodlight more often than your spot light, giving youth equal attention and demonstrating unconditional love. Developing a flood light ministry will not cause all students to respond, but at least it gives every student an honest shot at shining.
“And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant— these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.” Isaiah 56:6-8
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
“To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law.” 1 Corinthians 9:20