Today I had to great opportunity to sit in a class where there was a dialogue between my pastor, Austin Garder, and “Bro. Aaron” a missionary in Morocco. They both would give personal and Biblical examples of the importance of Christians being willing to suffer for the cause of Christ.
It is hard to see if somebody is willing to do something until they are put to the test. I say I am willing and desirous to go to the mission field. However, unless I am called to a field and I answer yes or no I feel like without that test I will never be able to see if this is true.
Would my teenagers be willing to suffer for His name? In one place “Bro. Aaron” brings a message to people that will cause them to be ostracized and stand radically against all that they have been taught. We, as youth pastors, stand before teens and ask them to embrace personally what they have heard about Christ most of their lives and we make their lives better by being Christian. They will be drawn closer to their family members in many cases. They will have more friends not less. They are more likely to succeed in the business world by adopting Biblical principles.
These thoughts hit me tonight when I ask a teenager I was taking home what has caused them to want to be at all the services and activities. I wanted to hear something about God. I thought if I heard they loved God then I would think he is getting to a place where he would be willing to suffer. He unashamedly told me that he comes to get away from home. He comes because it gives him a since of belonging to a family. As well as that sounds and I guess that should make me happy, I wanted to here something about his desire to serve the King.
It will take time. However, I decided tonight after our Christmas party and that conversation I better help them get a more clear understanding of what the Christian life can be about.
I need them to feel the joy of serving and feel the emotions of what is like to want to do more. I need them to know what it is like to lose friends because of them following Christ. I need them to desire to serve Him regardless of the suffering it may bring. As much as they love activities these things will never be accomplished in our typical setting. I must take them to the nursing home, the street corner, and to the vacuum.
I am doing these kids a great injustice by only allowing them to experience and enjoy a small part of Christianity. They need to be able to serve and suffer also.