Given the world we are asking our students to step into, it is increasingly critical that we equip the next generation. Our students are not the future of the church; they are the church. There is no better time for them to get the dirt of ministry under their fingernails. But given the large scale challenges our students are facing even to express their faith, the thought of where to begin can be paralyzing. So I started to think through some of the roadblocks that often stand in our way of being effective witnesses of the gospel and how youth leaders and parents can begin to prepare students for the road ahead.
There is little doubt that western culture as our students are experiencing is frightening. But every time I give this talk, I have an incredible sense of hope. They hang on every word and the conversation continues long after I step off the stage.
The western world is officially post-Christian—actively rejecting Jesus and the gospel. This is forcing churches to face some new challenges. Nowhere is this challenge more important in Christendom than in our youth groups and families.
We, as youth leaders, need to live missional and invite students into that space. Invite them into the challenges, the successes, and the failures. Invite them to follow your example as you seek to follow Christ. And then provide them opportunities to lead others. Show them what it means to see the world as Jesus does so they don’t merely strive to just successfully survive the world, but transform it and redeem it for the kingdom of God.
As youth leaders and parents, it is a question that rises to the surface more often than we realize. But it is also a question that is ignored or marginalized more often than we realize.