Thursday, December 2, 2010

The BIONIC Man Lives!

I know you are thinking, "The bionic man?" is that a remake of an old television show? Maybe a new movie that is coming out and I have missed the trailers? Nope, none of these. BIONIC is one of the many acronyms that I have used over the years. In fact, this one goes way back to the 70's, late 70's when being involved in youth ministry was mostly pizza blasts and big events with tons of prizes each week. We could bring in a crowd and then lose a crowd because someone else had a better dog and pony show down the street or a bigger "boom box" to give away or the new thing called a Sony Walkman CD/AM/FM combination to give away.

In the youth ministry that I was a part of we started doing things differently. We wanted to do things such as building relationships with the students. Not to build the relationship around the Youth Pastor/Minister only because he, yes I said he because this was long, long ago in a generation far, far away, and then to see the students implode when the he left for a bigger or another church. (Long sentence there and choppy, but you get the idea!) Anyway we decided to build relationships with the students with as many adults in their lives as we could get. So we came up with the acronym called B.I.O.N.I.C. which stood for "Believe It Or Not I Care!"

This phrase was one we said often to one another and we trained on it:
  • Be available for your youth
  • Initiate conversations with youth
  • Operate Covertly with students but publicly. Conversations go well this way
  • Never break confidences. (Unless immoral, illegal, or dangerous)
  • Interest yourself into their lives, likes, dislikes, life and yes drama
  • Care, really care about their spiritual growth

Now I know looking over this list you can say these are cheesy and you would probably be right. However, think about youth ministry in light of these. Isn't Youth Ministry about being their for the students, talking with them, being open and really caring about their life? Things they are doing and not doing? Above all isn't Youth Ministry about their salvation and their spiritual growth?

So after finding this old piece of paper in one of my files recently I am thinking back to all the students that I have had the joy of hearing back from over the years that I have been able to impact for the kingdom. The joy of a little girl in the 7th grade that was tall, lanky, awkward and loved basketball more than boys write me years later to tell me she was now teaching a 7th grade girls Sunday School Class. How that she remembered the things I had taught her. Wow, I did make a difference after all.

So now after all these years, in the good times and the bad times, the fun and the sad, I can proudly say, "The BIONIC Man lives!"


Ben said...

Steve, great to see back in the blogosphere! Did you come up with that BIONIC acronym back in the day? I love the concept and have found it to be true although I've never though about it in these specific terms.

Life change and discipleship really does happen better in the one to one ministry. That's true for youth ministry and ministry in general. Therefore, the pastor/youth pastor must multiply himself so that greater impact can happen, which can sometimes be hard and humbling. So many pastors really do want themselves to be the tent pole even if they say they don't.

What are you doing to multiply yourself? Believe It Or Not I Care! Always looking to learn from you. Thanks!

Ben said...

Steve, Lee Majors ain't got nothin' on you!

Stay In The Word said...

The O in BIONIC is about having one on one meetings with students. I recommend that you do this in a public place. It is a way of meeting, discussing, and being in the public eye for accountability with the student and church. Operating Covertly meaning that the student gets a cup of coffee on you, one on one discussions and no one knows what you are upto other than having a cup of coffee with a friend. Nothing should be out of character here for the leader! We are here to impact students with the great news of Jesus Christ and their continued growth.