I constantly battle my tendency to carefully wrap my kids in bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and clearly mark the package fragile. It is a trend that is setting our students up for failure. We are preparing the road for our children rather than preparing our children for the road ahead. As a result, we are raising a generation obsessed with safety.
If you are leading anyone, you need to read. It doesn’t matter if you are leading your own kids in your family, a few students, or hundreds of employees. Leaders read — a lot. What if I read non-Christians thoughts about culture, youth, even the church, took their insights and applied it my ministry?
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.
During my days as a teacher—in my little corner of the world, inside the four walls of my classroom, my students were good kids. They liked Jesus. They went to church and participated in youth group. They loved and respected their parents. And let’s be honest. They, of course, loved their Bible classes with me. I have no doubt—even today—that most of that is true. But what I neglected to realize was eventually they would have to leave the comfort of their homes, classrooms, and neighborhoods.
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.