Let me start this blog off with a small disclaimer: I am not anti-youth group. I think that youth groups are great places for teenagers to learn God's Word and share their lives with other Christian teens. They can build common bonds through their love of Jesus. They receive mentorship and encouragement from adult leaders. But I want more for my children.
There's a book by Lysa Terkuerst titled "More than Just a Good Bible Study Girl". In that book Lysa encourges women to put into practice what they've learned throughout all the years at Bible study. We have a tendency to just take in more and more and more information but very rarely put into practice principles that we have learned in our studies. I think that can happen to teenagers as well.
Youth Pastors and small group leaders pour knowledge and godly wisdom into the youth week after week after week. They take busloads of teens to camps and conferences. They lead discipleship groups and host weekend retreats. But what are the teens doing with all that information? How are they applying all of this knowledge to their daily lives? Are they missing opportunities to lead others to Christ because they can't miss 1 night of youth group?
I currently have two sons in high school and we expect a lot from them as Christian young men attending a public school. I expect every person at that school to know that there is something different about them. I want them to carry themselves in a way that students and teachers can visibly see a difference. Their talk and their behavior is to be respectful to authority as well as to other students. I'm elated to know that one of my sons has been called a "Jesus Freak". That tells me that others know there's a difference.
I constantly remind my boys that they enter a mission field every time they step foot into their high school and everytime they step foot on an athletic field. That means that they should see their classmates just like they saw the people of Haiti or Nicaragua. They need to take the same boldness into the 4 walls of that school that they took to the villages in other countries. There are over 900 students in the halls of Tippecanoe High School who need Jesus. How differently would they be preaching the gospel to those students if they were in another country?
We also tell them that we never know who may be watching us and we need to represent God in everything that we do. They have to be authentic in their Christian walk so that when they get the opportunity to share the gospel, their actions will not make them a liar or give them the appearance of being fake. I don't want my boys raising their hands praising God during youth group Sunday night and then walking the halls on Monday morning cracking crude jokes, using bad language or worse....being silent about their faith.
So we pray and talk with our boys and try to impress upon them the importance of not getting stuck in the routine of just being a good youth group student and the need to be with all of their friends every Sunday night soaking up more and more and more information. The purpose for that knowledge is to share it with others. When we are not open to other opportunities to serve and minister, we can miss huge blessings that God wants to give us.
My prayer for my children is that I want God to give them the desire to share their faith with their classmates, the boldness to do it despite what others may think and the willingness to occasionally miss time with their own groups of Christian friends to go be a witness to unsaved friends.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.