There certain messages we want students to hear.
You’re important to God and to me.
You’re never too young to serve God.
You don’t need to do anything to please God, He loves you as you are.
It’s okay to mess up, Gods forgives and so do we.
You can undoubtedly add a whole bunch of items to this list. It’s what we want our students to know, to feel, to live…and so we tell them these truths in sermons and small group studies and personal conversations.
But do our actions support these messages? What are your actions really saying to your students?
You’re important to me. Yes, but I’ve got no time to talk to you this week because I’m really busy organizing the youth retreat, so maybe we could meet in two weeks?
You’re never to young to serve God. Sure, but I don’t think you leading worship is such a good idea. That’s more something for adults, don’t you think? You could help out serving coffee after the service though.
God loves you as you are. He sure does. However, did you know that the Bible explicitly condemns tattoos? You may want to consider removing that or at least covering it up in youth group.
I forgive you. I don’t ever trust you again and I sure won’t ever in all eternity give you any kind of responsibility again, but sure, you’re forgiven.
It’s the all too familiar credo of ‘actions speak louder than words’. But have you ever stopped and considered what this means for what you’re really telling you students? Are your words and your actions aligned or do they contradict each other?
If the latter is the case, all your carefully crafted Biblically-supported words won’t make a lick of difference. Your actions speak way louder than what you could ever say.
Have the guts to reflect on your actions, the way you relate to your students and how you interact with them. Are you walking your talk? Or is there a painful discrepancy between your words and your walk? It’s not too late to change course and start living out your own messages.