Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Church of Today

Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

This past weekend was a thrill for me; it was back to the future! I joined 35 of our high school student leaders and staff at Mount Hermon for a leader’s conference called Revolution. I cannot tell you what a gift it was to worship with, pray with, learn with, dream with, counsel with and serve with the high school students at PCC. I drove home Sunday afternoon exhausted but so incredibly grateful for the weekend and for what God is doing in and through our students. It was a gift to me!

Having served for 17 years in Student Ministries, I forgot the fun, the zeal, the passion and the stakes that are all wrapped up in student ministry. In student ministry, you come alongside adolescents and are able to shape destinies and enable students to make life-altering decisions that impact eternity. Students genuinely have a desire to take God at His word, and have, as the apostle Paul put it, a sincere and pure devotion to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3).

When I was in Student Ministries, this leadership weekend was always my favorite, because it was a weekend with the students who get it: life isn’t about them—it isn’t just about grades, sports, accolades and degrees—it is ultimately about influencing classmates and teachers for Christ. It is about, as one student told me, “Wanting to see Jesus walk the hallways of my campus!”

Many would view high school students as the church of tomorrow – at PCC we see them as the church of today. And in God’s counter-intuitive, upside-down kingdom ways, we can learn so much from our students. They pace us in so many ways:
  • They pace us in authenticity: I saw students so vulnerable and not afraid to hide their stuff, but bringing it into the light, so they can find healing (James 5:16).
  • They pace us in worship: I saw an unreserved display of affection for Jesus and a sincere desire to engage with the Trinity in pouring out of affections. Powerful.
  • They pace us in evangelism: Students are masterful when it comes to boldness and engaging in a ministry of prayer, care, share, and hang in there with their friends.
  • They pace us in prayer: I witnessed a lot of prayer! This past Wednesday students gathered around their flagpoles before school asking God to move in powerful ways on their campus. When was the last time any of us gathered around the flagpoles of our company asking for the same?
  • They pace us in community: Students get it – they need each other to become all that God has called us to be. They are extremely committed to growing within a Biblically functioning community.
Given all this excellent modeling, why would we call students the church of tomorrow? No wonder Jesus reprimanded adults who tried to keep kids from coming to him! No wonder Jesus said that the kingdom belongs to those with childlike faith! No wonder Paul had to exhort Timothy not to let anyone look down on him because he was young!

Maybe the best thing you and I can do for our faith is have lunch with a PCC high school leader and ask them to teach us about following Jesus! By the way, thank you for investing in students. Our giving through PCC helped subsidize the trip and is, among many other things, building an army of middle and high school students for Jesus! Our prioritized, planned percentage giving through PCC is needed now more than ever!