Spend any time talking with students about sharing their faith, and you will doubt discover they have a sincere desire to help their friends, classmates, and teammates meet Jesus and experience salvation. However, you may also find that we, as leaders, make far too many assumptions.
It is easy to think of a new generation as somehow being less than the generations before. It is easy to look at students and label them as lazy, unconcerned with the future, unmotivated, not as smart, soft, etc. And over the last year or so, I have read countless articles and plenty of books raising concern about today’s students. Much of it valid and informative about the state of our youth in light of the gospel and the future of Christianity. But I often think it is far too easy to focus in on the negative that we forget about the positive. I sincerely believe there is an incredible hope with the rising generation. Here’s why.
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.
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.
Why do we want more kids coming to youth group? Because we want to introduce them to Jesus, we want to establish positive relationships with them, and we want to disciple them into the next stages of their lives. Which is precisely the point. Right? Yes, but I still think it is the wrong question.