Recently I watched a video filmed in New York City that had people write out their answer to What’s Your Biggest Regret?. By far the most common theme that people had was what they had NOT done with their lives. I think if we are not careful, we can lead a student ministry built upon these same kind of regrets.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22Having served in youth ministry for over a decade I find that we often are telling students what they need to do. In fact, many of these are things God tells us to do.
Read and Study your Bible
Pray more often
Serve other people in need
Share Jesus with those who are lost
Go to all our church activities (Ok, so maybe we stretch the meaning of Hebrews 10:25 here)
However, here are many times when we tell students WHAT to do but we fail to PRACTICE these biblical admonitions with students. My fear is that we can teach a lot of great things to students without personally doing them ourselves. Even worse, we can talk about them without giving students the opportunity actively participates in these same activities.
When was the last time YOU…
…studied Scripture with students where you let them dig into the word without you providing all the answers?
…asked students to pray for things instead of you leading the prayer?
…have taken students with you to share the gospel with others?
…have consistently done these things yourself?
Recently I have had to look at myself in the mirror to see where I am excelling in these areas and where I am falling short. A mentor one time told me that you know you are a disciple when you are making disciples who are then going to make other disciples. Although I might not always see that full aspect in student ministry, one indicator of my faithfulness is am I helping students trust God and act on the above commands.
Some of our students just returned from a mission trip to Las Vegas. On that trip, we immersed ourselves in prayer and the word while ministering to people in a downtrodden area of the city. What I saw God do blew me away. A student who rarely ever prays out loud praying for people on the Las Vegas strip. A student with an absent father sharing her testimony in a park and then seeing that person with a similar background being led to faith in Jesus Christ. Seeing both students and adults on our free day continue to engage people in prayer and conversation. The week upon our return students recruiting other students to go downtown and minister to the homeless.
We have seen God motivate students, trust God in prayer and see Him begin to answer as a response to their obedience. I have been reminded that God shows up when we ACT, not when we just talk about ACTING. Our students need to know what God wants them to do as followers of Jesus BUT he also wants us to provide opportunities where God can be glorified through our obedience.
What does God want you to DO this week with students that so that it will not be included on your Wall of Regret later?
Guest Post – Pastor David Brinkley, Minister to Youth, Highland Baptist Church – firstname.lastname@example.org