March 11, 2012 by Chris French
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the difference between a group and a ministry. Groups can be made up of smaller parts that are actually groups all to themselves. Ministries don’t have that luxury. They’re there to help people be more holy. So we’ve changed our name from Bethel Youth Group (BYG) to Bethel Student Ministry (BSM) because what we name something indicates our idea of it. I want our youth group not to be 4-5 smaller groups that make up on larger group. I want it to be one ministry where we all care about each other deeply enough to put our own desires and feelings down and take care of each others feelings and desires.
In that mind-set I came to Joshua 1.12-15. Joshua is the new leader of Israel. They’re about to go into the Promised Land, but before they do God wants to make sure everyone’s on the same page (a.k.a. no groups within the larger group that have their own agenda). The women, children, the elderly and the livestock were to remain on the east side of the Jordan River. The army was to cross the Jordan River and stay together until the land promised to each tribe was completely conquered. The land promised to Manasseh was conquered first, but that tribe didn’t get to stop and live in their land. They had to continue fighting until all the land promised to the other tribes had been won. Only then could they go back to the land they had been promised and start farming and letting life return to normal.
In this conquest there wasn’t room for 12 different agendas. There was only room for one agenda: God’s agenda of setting His people apart. We’ve only got room in our Student Ministry for one agenda: God’s agenda of making each one of us righteous.