I have a hunger, and the only way that it can be quenched is by the Gospel.
I am a teenager, and I have many earthy desires, but the greatest desire of my heart can only be filled with the Gospel—Jesus, only Jesus, can fill my greatest need.
The moments when the Gospel has been most clearly conveyed to me have not been while in a classroom (although I have learned many invaluable things while behind a desk), but they have been while sharing a meal, doing dishes, on car rides, over a morning cup of coffee, or during hallway conversations. They have been in the mundane—the times that the Gospel stood clearly before my eyes—and I could not be any more thankful.
We can teach our young people of the Gospel in the classroom, and indeed we should, but perhaps our greatest ministry is found in our daily life. Our testimony of the power and goodness of the Lord must be able to be seen inside and outside of the classroom. When we have made our whole life a living testimony of the transforming power of the Gospel, it is then that we will have our greatest ministries to Christians and non-believers alike.
We won’t make disciples with quick and witty one-liners, but with the faithful and honest telling and application of the Gospel.
We can’t make a mature disciple over a single cup of coffee–it might take a thousand or more. We must be willing to see proclaiming the Gospel through until the tea turns cold and fruit is brought forth. Feeding the truthful substance of the Gospel to students (or anyone, really) takes time, dedication, and love–It’s not a quick fix, but it is a difficult, infinitely worthwhile lifestyle.
We can feel the pressure to be ‘relevant’ in our ministries to students, but there is nothing needing to be more proclaimed to the young heart than the crucified Christ—the Gospel in its beautiful, naked truth. We need to allow teens to see our brokenness, so that they can see our Redeemer, and our response to who He is. While chances are that a teenager won’t ever turn down a pizza party, what they desire is something that will completely fill every empty void in their lives, and the only thing that can ever do that is the Lord Most High.
I am a teenager ministering to teenagers, and the overwhelming thing that I see is a deep, urgent need for the Gospel to be taught by word and example. Youth don’t want to be talked down to as if they are small children, but led and taught by those who respect them as equals. And if we can lead teens by example, as their faithful, gentle servants, and continually speak the truth of the Word into their lives, I believe that we can have no more profound ministry to them than that.
Praying, speaking the truth, and leading by example are some of the greatest gifts that we can ever give to the teens in our lives, so let us no grow weary in doing good. Let us pursue the Lord with all that is within us!