What we live for will determine the things we will want to accomplish and achieve in this life. For many teenagers, unfortunately, the here and now is all that matters. Life is all about who notices me and what I can get out if it. Many teenagers put their faith in things that won’t last, things that aren’t eternal. The only remedy for this is an encounter with the Living God.
With this being said, as a pastor to students and families, I have also personally seen students that are absolutely on fire for the cause of Christ. They want to know Jesus and have depth in their faith. They ask tough questions and desire real answers. They seek to make Jesus famous in the little things and the big things. They are genuine Jesus followers and want their family, friends, circle of influence, and the world to know it.
Whether we have teenagers living in our home or we work with teenagers in some capacity, we must capitalize on these God-glorfying students as they desire to live out their faith. Their passion has a purpose and its to make the name of Jesus famous. In order to do this I believe there are four things that we need to constantly be reminding the next generation of Christ followers.
Missional living must be internal before it can be external. If students are going to make an eternal impact it must first make a personal impact on them. We speak and live from our passions not our obligations. When Jesus has transforms the heart, actions will soon follow. Matthew 6:21 reminds us that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Missional living is counter-cultural. Following Jesus and making His name famous is difficult to say the least in this day and age. Believing in absolute truth is seen as being narrow minded and arrogant. Again, this world lives completely for the here and now. Living for Jesus and eternal impact is all about being a part of something that is bigger than your own self. When Jesus looked at a group of common men and said “Follow me” (Matthew 4:18-22) it was an invitation to come and sacrifice the ordinary for extraordinary. This came with sacrifice and trails but also with great eternal reward.
Missional living is not a program or an event, it is a way of life. Missional living should not have a “show up at this time and we will do this” approach to it. Yes, mission trips, service projects, outreach efforts, and the like are all very much a part of living on mission, but it is not the end all of it. Missional living is a lifestyle that is lived. It should come naturally and not forced. The local church equips the body of Christ, including the next generation, to know what missional living is, how to live on mission, and then model it in what we do on a week to week basis. Students learn best when they see the desired outcome not just when they are told it.
Missional living means reaching your neighbor and the nations. Some when they hear the term “missions” have the whole “jungle in Africa” image come to mind. This is very much a part of missions but there is so much more to it. We must reach our neighbors and the nations with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For many all we would have to do is walk across the street and we would be able to accomplish both. We must help students remember that living on mission includes the conversations with the person who has the locker next to them at school, the way they display their faith on the field and in the locker room, the things they text to their friends, the jokes they laugh at, and so on. Every single believer in Jesus Christ is a missionary.
We have the greatest story to tell, the story of Jesus Christ. The next generation has the incredible opportunity to make an eternal impact. All believers do. We must come together and live on mission for this cause of Christ!
Acts 1:8 (HCSB), “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”