Most of us hopefully can say that we minister in a community that is grace-filled. I know the reality, though, is that sometimes grace is not shown in all circumstances. This is unfortunate. Especially when what is being offered is someone's own opinion on a matter, and what comes across is hurtful and judgmental behavior. Definitely not grace.
Grace, as you know, is something that is offered to help restore and renew someone who is living a life that is not aligned with scripture or God's ideal for that person. So, how can we help to create a youth ministry that is centered on grace? Here are a few ideas to help us keep focused on grace:
1. Romans 5:18-19 says, "Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right." (MSG)
This is the starting point of grace. Through the work of Jesus we all can receive what we don't deserve, a new life. Let's keep our ministries focused on the work of Jesus, and the result of Jesus' work in our lives.
2. 1 John 2:1-2, "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." (NIV)
Grace is something that is made available to the "whole world". We can't keep it to ourselves. We must teach our students to live in grace, and to make it available to everyone else they know as well. This applies especially to those who see things differently than we do.
3.. John 4 & 8 teaches that Christ trumps tradition. Grace > Law.
4.. Acts 6, 7, 8, 10; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18, "But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (NIV)
Here we see the inclusiveness of the Gospel. Through the "work of Christ", grace is made available to everyone.
Bottom line is this, everyone could tell you how crappy they are, but not everyone knows how loved they are.
Let grace rule in your life and ministry.