This post has been mulled over for a while now...started it twice & canned what i wrote cause even i wasn't happy with my vernacular. Decided who gives a rip and write it any way--
I meet with 8 students who are part of a leadership team for our high school ministry. These students get to have a bigger voice in what our ministry does as well as I ask them to help communicate why our ministry exists.
One student leader defined what youth group should be as "Growing with others while Growing in relationship with God"...i wrote it down on a piece of paper cause i liked what she had to say.....sorta.
Youth Group [could be]:
1-a place teenagers come to interact, hang out
2- part of a teens week where they focus on spiritual living
3- a significant aspect of a teens life for them to share life with other teens, be challenged to think for themselves about who God is and what a relationship with Jesus Christ is. All while striving to make a difference in a world that lives opposite to how God desires
Most teens would list definition #1 or #2 and for most 'church' people that would be an answer that would suffice. Problem is if you stop at social interaction or focusing on spiritual things it becomes a compartment in your life and not part of your being.
We have some students in our church that are a part of youth group that call themselves Christians. They show up & then they leave when its over. They don't care about who Jesus is, or about asking tough questions in life, or about making a difference in someone else's life, & living the way Jesus desires.....they pretty much like to stare blankly at a wall & go through the motions. They call themselves a Christian but don't live like one. They go to church to take up room......they want a youth group that'll be fun and games or glorified "Kum Bay Ya" sessions.
We have some students in our church that are a part of youth group that call themselves Christians. They show up cause they have had an encounter with Jesus that has been life altering. They invite friends, share with those friends (who don't know Jesus) what Jesus has done in their own life. They are the students that show up to serve for a day at an orphanage or rescue mission. They want to see people's lives impacted the way theirs was. They are exciting to talk with & be around cause they ask hard questions. Faith rocking questions that don't have easy answers. They think of ways to spend their money to benefit others. They actually believe the Bible & Jesus when it says to live a certain way and they strive for it. They couldn't care if a game was played or a certain song sung a certain way cause they truly want to connect with people their own age & allow lives to be shared and Godly change to happen......these students i want around all the time. These students are not 'church' people. They are people who have been changed my the message of Jesus Christ & the Cross.
Grow with others while growing in relationship with God should be dynamic, should be life altering, should drive you to do crazy, risky things. It should draw something from your heart & let it spill out of you in such a way as to where you desire more out of life than a good song or fun game. Don't get me wrong Youth ministry is about relationships & seeking joy moments that make memories that can last a lifetime.
But if your joy moments are almost always "just hanging with friends" and never doing anything with your faith or taking on a new challenge in how you live our your faith--then i would say you really don't care about your faith in Jesus. You care about comfort--you care about you.
For those students who actually read my blog.....live a NEW NORMAL, be willing to live a RECKLESS ABANDON for Jesus
For those parents who actually read my blog.....start modeling what a passionate faith in Christ is & not a "go through the motions" faith is.
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