One of the focuses youth ministers are going to try to relay to students is how they can reach out to their friends who are far away from Jesus. As I have been reading a ton of different books, curriculums, and anything that has to do with this topic on how to best portray it to our students, I had this one thought that will not leave me alone. It is as if as I have been thinking about how we teach our students do these things, the Holy Spirit tugged on my heart with this question:
Who is in your life that you are reaching out to? Are your students seeing how this needs to be done by you?
Whoa. Ouch. It is a question I think all of us in ministry need to wrestle with. Think about it. How many times do we, youthg ministers, stand up in front of our groups, write in our curriculum, explain to our students how important it is to have real, authentic relationships with non-believers and be a light in their lives and try to help direct them to God and we ourselves are not doing a great job (or not doing anything at all)? It really got me thinking about whom in my life I can be reaching out to more. Who can I be more intentional with? Who in my life can benefit in a huge way if they started to live for Jesus?
Then it got me thinking about how much more beneficial it is for our students to see their leaders actually doing what it is we are asking them to do with their friends. How much more effective will it be when we can tell our own stories about how we were their for a friend and helped them step closer to Jesus? How great would it be if we were to show our students how it is done and be a physical example to them of what Jesus can do through us and for us? What would it look like if we surrounded ourselves with people who do know Jesus and we were intentional on bringing to church with us?
I know in ministry it can be really easy to surround yourself with people who are already saved. You go to lunch with them, you are in a group with them. All the people you work with are already saved (we assume). It is really easy for us to not have people in our lives we are not reaching out to besides the ones we preach to on Sunday’s, but there is no real, intentional relationship their.
So I have to ask. Who is in your life that you have a relationship with, friendship with, an acquaintance with who is far from Jesus? Who can we be reaching out to while at the same time being an example to our students because we are telling them to do the same thing?