By Pastor Chris Secor,
Youth Pastor, Little Falls Alliance Church
I’ve been doing youth ministry for five years now. Not a long time, really, but I’ve been a part of multiple ministry contexts: trailer parks, para-church ministries, suburban and exurban, and rural. While the environmental context for all these ministries is different, they all had a similar goal: creating opportunities for students to take next steps in their discipleship process or to say ‘yes’ to Jesus.
I have to be clear with you, I desperately need Jesus. Isaiah 52:7 reads beautiful are the feet that bring the good news of peace and salvation. That is all about Jesus. I said “yes” to Jesus because a caring adult took the initiative to have an authentic relationship with me. So when we look at our ministry contexts: our family, sports teams, church, workplace, etc. … How efficient are we in being a catalyst in the passing of faith to the next generation?
When I read about Jesus’ ministry, I read about a guy who was in multiple ministry contexts having authentic relationships with his disciples and the people he would encounter. I read about a Jesus who was so passionate about people and people coming to know God that he would develop, empower and release his disciples into the ministry context. Why? It made them rely on Jesus. Likewise, we need to do that for our young people whether you are a parent, pastor, youth worker, teacher, coach, you name it.
In the teaching world, teachers follow a structure or ladder, called Bloom’s Taxonomy. I believe we see a similar process throughout the Gospels when Jesus interacts with his disciples: know, understand, apply, evaluate and create. When we invest in the next generation and share Jesus with them, are we creating opportunities for our students to move past knowing and understanding Jesus to actually applying Jesus, evaluating Jesus and creating opportunities of relying on Jesus? This in itself is a faith-filled risk because, without a doubt, students will begin to question or even doubt Jesus. And that is OK. Being a Jesus follower isn’t easy, but it’s rewarding.
Whatever context you find yourself in, you will have interactions with the next generation. This is an opportunity for you to bring the good news of peace and salvation to them. You don’t need to be a pastor or a coach; you can be mom or dad. If we have multiple generations investing into this next generation and allow them to take faith-filled risks I believe we would see more people say “Yes” to Jesus and put Jesus on the throne of their heart. As Isaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger. …” Let’s be the feet that bring Jesus to this next generation.