Moved Mountains

Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Growing Christ Centred Youth - 5

I want to deal with questions 3 and 4 today.

I spent the day with a young bloke I've known for a couple of years now. I first met him when I was filling in as a Sunday School teacher, he was 11 or 12 at the time. I didn't see him again until he was 15, by which time he had developed a pretty serious drug dependency.

Now, at 16, he has reached the end of the road. He appears to be suffering from psychosis and experiencing some heavy demonic activity and - this is the best part - he wants Jesus Christ in his life. We prayed, we cleared out the demons, he committed to following Jesus and then we hung out. He had a day without drugs for the first time in a long time. Now he needs love, care and to belong. I hope we can meet these needs, as God's people and as his Christian family, and I hope he can continue to be motivated to get the ongoing help he needs to deal with the layers of spiritual, emotional, psychological and physiological scar tissue that has built up over the years.

When I started looking at these "Growing Christ Centred Youth" questions again I began to think about my day, and it became clear the answer to question 3 is very much the same as the answer to question 2.

Question 3 is:

How do we effectively reach unchurched kids in a way that is going to lead them into relationship with Jesus Christ? I certainly don't find it hard to get involved in non-Christian kids lives - I do it everyday and have great relationships with many of them - but I have no idea how to get them to think seriously about eternity.
In question 2 I was wondering about self-centredness, and getting youth to look beyond themselves. But after thinking about it further, self-centredness is the very thing that keeps us all from Christ anyway - it's what Dominic Steele in Introducing God calls the "declaration of independence", it's when I tell God to "bugger off" and I decide to do my own thing because, after all, "I know best"!

So, after a day with my young mate, I think the way to effectively reach the yet-to-be-reached youth, leading them into a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ is:
by entering into their world and building genuine relationships with them. By loving them, modeling a Christ-centred life of service to them, teaching them about Jesus Christ and his way of living and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in them and draw them closer to God's kingdom.
In light of this, question 4 is pretty easy to answer:
Is it too much to expect this (see question 3) in the teenage years?
No! A committed relationship is not too much to expect, but it is too much to expect them to do it own their own. And this is something we all need to remember - the road to, and with Christ is not a road travelled in isolation (Romans 15:1). We also need to remember commitment isn't going to look the same in a young person as it does in a mature adult - there will be times when the spiritual thermostat will be high and other times when it'll be low. The main thing is that there are other, mature, committed Christians around to set standards, to carry the load and to care when needed.

Please remember my young friend in your prayers - he has just started on what is likely to be a difficult journey and he has a long road ahead of him.

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