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Who I amReside in St. Louis Missouri currently, Lived in California & Colorado.Husband.Father.Pastor.Football Enthusiast.Teacher.Learner.Dreamer.Reader.Friend. [thoughts & comments blogged here are my reflections living life trusting Jesus as God]

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Students View of God #1

I have 2 posts that have been forcing me think as a youth pastor. These posts have risen out of students communicating to me their view of God as they have struggled & wrestled to figure out & continue a life of faith in Jesus Christ:

--God Is Boring--

In the last year (literally) I have asked this simple question to 9 different students, "Is God boring to you?". Their answer has been a yes.

Each student life situation has been completely different with a lot of variables, except one variable has been consistent. They ALL have grown up in church.

These students have come to a place in their life where their actions are not mirroring their faith or the call Christ places on them. They are frustrated by that but at the same time not willing to put a lot of effort into re-thinking how to live. Their responses to being "bored with God" have been some of these responses,
- God hasn't shown up in a while
- I don't feel God around me
- Bible is the same stories from 1st grade
- My friends are enjoying life without God so why can't I?
- My parents don't seem to care about their faith so why should I?

The Youth Pastor in me has my heart break. The dad in me cringes cause I NEVER want this experience to be for my two boys (who will be raised in church).

Each conversation I've tried to help students dig into a "root" problem of some of these feelings and maybe even a risky way to get out of the "rut" as some have referred to it as.
For our conversations it starts with looking at Scripture. But looking at Scripture as to see the person of God, not the children's church explanation of God. A God who is Holy, redeeming & un-apologetic to standards.
It also has been challenging students to expose themselves to a daily risk of choosing to live like Jesus. Through mercy, sharing the gospel & authentic acts of unconditional love.
Most of the time these students hesitate at these ideas or challenges. Change is hard, change is difficult & change is scary. Even if the place of life you are at is 'boring' and feels 'pointless' some students would rather stay stuck than risk some change.

I have an assumption that for too long student ministries haven't challenged their "church kids" enough to stay engaged with an authenticity of God. We forget that growing up in church creates a "I've got this thing all figured out" attitude. I do know plenty of "church kids" that have stayed engaged with their faith and aren't bored with God. But those students seem to be the ones who are serving the most, sharing their faith with consistency & also realize the relationship with Christ is personal...not educational.

The "bored with God students" seem to be able to know FACTS about their faith but don't care to dig into the details of God. They seem to wait for God to always come to them but aren't willing to walk towards God in a humble fashion of laying aside themselves. Selfishness of lifestyle, attitude, personal wants and ME ONLY mindset to life seem to prevail. The idea of losing themselves to the Cross of Christ is something you do when life is completely out of control, not as an everyday follower of Jesus. Their story, their everyday life, sucks. They aren't doing something with their life that mirrors the passion or heartbeat of their Savior.

As these conversations continue, my hope & prayer is our ministry reflects the opposite of what they are feeling. That we strive to be a place where the living God moves in a way that is anything but describable as boring. I also hope these students are willing to place themselves before God willing to care about His heart & His call on their life & not be their own director of life. I hope their story quits sucking!

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