I realized last night that I had not shared my thoughts from Francis Chan's general session Saturday morning. Here is what I took away from his message as a whole...am I calling kids to a radical following of Jesus Christ or to a program? The way he illustrated that was through the way Jesus taught through parables. He spoke to the masses, but really he knew most wouldn't "hear" what he was saying, so he gave the message (knowing the masses wouldn't get it) and then built from that. Now the way I interpret that in my ministry today is that there are really high expectations to following Christ and being His disciple. So how does that shape my program? I've always been taught bigger is better-you've got to entertain kids to help them see how awesome it is to follow God. I am not sure that is the case. Jesus called His followers to give up EVERYTHING. It was a high cost, it meant losing friends and family, giving up everything that is familiar to them. It has to be communicated the same to kids today-Jesus is asking for a radical commitment of following Him, which means if my kids are REALLY following Him, they may lose friends, they may have to take a stand even if it means being made fun of or ridiculed. WOW-now how do you say that to a kid..."Sign up for this whole Jesus thing...by the way, your life may get really tough after this, but it's worth it!" Sounds like a hard sale, but it can work. For me it means completely re-learning how I do youth ministry which is an ongoing process. This was simply reaffirmed to me again this weekend.
So Jesus didn't reach all of the masses. If I think about that, it's somewhat freeing for me. I can't reach everyone, but I can focus on the ones that want to know Him closer. Jesus didn't use everyone that asked to follow Him and I can't reach every student. Here's a question I wrote down for myself to think through..."What do we do with the kids we can't use (Jesus didn't use everyone that asked to follow Him-they didn't all answer the call)? By that I mean what about the kids who hear the message but don't answer it. Do I just let them go? Do I not pay attention to them so I can focus on the ones that want to grow? I have a desire to reach as many as I can, but I don't want to help create another generation of shallow students who walk away from their faith in the future. I guess I just have to trust that I am planting those seeds and that God is big enough to do the rest.