We must show the teens another way.
As Christians, we were never meant to walk the wide road that everyone else treads. We were meant to take the road less traveled, the road that has been walked by the Apostles, countless Jesus followers, missionaries and martyrs who’ve gone before us.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” – Matthew 7:13
We aren’t meant to live for what everyone else lives for. We were not made to store up for ourselves treasures on earth, to seek pleasure at the cost of our souls.
“What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” – Matthew 16:26
“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” – Matthew 6:20
We were made for a purpose, for God’s glorious mission. We’ve been saved. And now, we share the good news of Jesus and live lives that show his love for those around us.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” – 1 Peter 4:10-11
God gives us the strength to step away from the crowd and to break free from the small, socially acceptable box that holds the rest of the world. In so doing, we find the joy-filled purpose of loving others and sharing the life-giving truth of God’s Word. Not only that, but we can live fearlessly because we serve the God who breathes galaxies into existence.
The purpose of discipleship isn’t to help teens clean up their lives and grow into nice, perfect, “safe” adults. The purpose is to show them the other road, the road that leads to eternity with Christ, true satisfaction and freedom from the burden of status, wealth and power.
The Bible warns us that it is not a smoothly paved, easy route.
“However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” – 1 Peter 4:16.
However the destination is beyond compare and the company walking the same road is our brothers and sisters in Christ.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” – Hebrews 12:1-3
Our goal should not be to raise “good, safe” kids. Our goal is to disciple our young people so that God grows them into passionate, Spirit-filled, fearless Jesus followers who walk every day of their lives on mission. Teens who leverage everything God has given them for the spread of the gospel wherever God has put them, now during their years in high school and every other day until they reach home with God in heaven.
That is the mission.
So how do we show it to them? We live it out in our own lives; we leverage every part for the spread of the gospel:
- We stay married because we love and forgive like Jesus did.
- We welcome people into our homes because that is what Jesus tells us to do.
- We build relationships with our neighbors so that we can talk about God.
- We study and enjoy God’s Word because his Word is the only source of truth in a world of lies.
- We aren’t afraid to start a Bible study with our co-workers.
- We live outside our comfort zone, trusting God when things seem impossible.
Don’t forget, just because we walk a road less traveled doesn’t mean that we are alone. There are countless Christians around the world walking out their faith. We hope you’ll take a few minutes to check out this real life example and that it will encourage you on your own mission walk.