Feeling out of place?
It's easy to pray and talk about God at church, because everyone there is doing it. That's where the whole gathering is about Jesus. But when we get outside the church, everything changes and we're all of a sudden in the minority, or at least we feel like it.
School is an especially tricky place to live out our faith. It's not the norm, it's not expected and therefore it's not easy. So, many of us just give up. We live one way at school and one way at church. We start to feel guilty. We get confused about who we really are.
Good news! It doesn't have to be this way! We can live like Jesus anywhere we go.
What does it mean to be a Christian?
I think the problem is confusion around the term "Christian".
- Does the term 'Christian' just describe what type of church you go to?
- Is being 'Christian' only about the God you sing and pray to on Sunday?
- Or is living as a Christian something more?
Someone becomes a Christian by repenting of their sins and putting their faith in Jesus alone. Jesus is God, he died for our sins, he rose again, he's our only hope. So we're following him!
What Christ does, Christians do.
What Christ says, Christians say.
Where Christ goes, Christians go.
This hit me in a huge way when I was in college.
Being a follower
I had been in Christian schools all my life, but still could not tell you what it meant to follow Jesus. Then, it dawned on me … what happens when I follow someone else? If I get in my car and follow a friend to a restaurant, what do I do? I ask him where he is going, I realize I don't know the way, I stay behind him and mimic his every move. If he stops, turns, or speeds up, so do I. Then I applied this to Jesus.
I got into the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and started reading about Jesus' epic life. I realized there were some things he always did, that I hardly ever do.
For example, he was always helping someone, and usually not a very popular person. He helped people who are paralyzed, blind, sick, hungry or living a life of sin.
In addition, he always told them about God, but on a level that they could understand. He often spoke in parables, used stories and common metaphors to give people the good news.
Getting amongst the people
Since I wanted to be like Jesus, I figured I'd start with these two things - helping people & talking about God. So, I got together with a buddy of mine. We made 50 sandwiches, got a cooler full of water bottles, a stack of Bibles and we went downtown to feed the poor! We felt a bit like Jesus when he fed the 5,000!
That was one of the most amazing days in my Christian life. I got to help people, I got to give people Bibles, and I got to talk to people about Jesus.
There was one homeless lady who had recently become a burn victim. Her face was intensely scarred from her wounds. To top it off, she was pregnant. I told her Jesus loved her, asked her if she wanted him and she said yes. After our conversation, she prayed that God would forgive her, save her and be with her.
Practical ideas for being a Christian at school
Ever since that day, I've had an answer to the question, "What does a Christian look like?" They look like Jesus.
What did Jesus do? A lot of stuff, but one thing he did was help people and that always led him into conversations about the kingdom of God.
So here's how this matters for you in your every day life at school.
This month, figure out one way to help people in your school.
Here's some ideas to get you started:
- You could assist students with special needs.
- You could volunteer for a background role in the school play, like running sound or lights.
- You could participate in a fundraiser for some of the schools needs.
- You could volunteer with a club.
- You could start a club that meets a specific need you notice.
Whatever it is, look for a way to serve.
When someone asks you why you do it, tell them, "I am a Christian and I follow Christ!" Answer any questions they have and invite them to church.
The Bible says in Matthew 20:26-28,
"But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
What does a Christian look like at school? A servant.
How can you serve your school this year?