From wimps to warriors
How can you help young Christians be bolder for Jesus?
From wimps to warriors
The world’s future pastors and missionaries are in your youth groups right now. They are 13 and not quite old enough to shave. In order to be change makers they need to become brave warriors for Jesus. So how do we help our young people go from being wimps to warriors for the cause of Christ? Looking at the life of the disciple Andrew will help us learn a couple of things Jesus does to grow us in our bravery.
Make a start
In John 1:41-42, the first thing Andrew does after meeting Jesus is find his brother Simon and tell him “We have found the messiah”. Andrew will one day impact thousands for Christ, but this day he starts by impacting one. We can all make a start in being brave by telling one person about Jesus. It might be a family member or a friend but no one goes from being a wimp to warrior in a single day. You can’t make courageous Christians as quickly as you can make instant noodles. What you can do is encourage your young people to make a start.
In Luke 9:1-6 Jesus sends his apostles out on a mission and Jesus isn’t going with them. This means Jesus isn’t going to be there if they say the wrong thing. They will have to trust God not only for what to say but also for their accommodation and provision. Can you recall a time when you have had a faith stretching experience? For me it was when I participated on beach missions. These experiences were challenging and required me to trust in God more than I had before. The result of these stretching experiences was that I grew in courage. We don’t know whether Andrew thrived or merely survived on this Luke 9 mission. Regardless of how it went Jesus has another challenge for Andrew.
In Luke 10:1-12 Jesus is sending his followers out on another mission. I’m certain that Andrew would have been significantly more courageous on this second mission due to being stretched on the first mission. Tradition says after Jesus died, Andrew was a missionary to Russia, Romania and the Ukraine. He became a mighty missionary for the cause of Christ, but it started for him on these missions that Jesus sent him on. What opportunities are you providing your young people to have faith stretching experiences?
Tell them about the cost
Jesus never tries to water down the cost of following him. In Luke 14:25-33 there is a large crowd and Jesus says:
“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple."
Is this the way you talk to your young people about following Jesus? Or are you selling them something less than what Jesus himself called for? I wonder if the crowd of people listening to Jesus got bigger or smaller after he made those remarks. When Andrew heard those words, he didn’t walk away. In fact tradition suggests that Andrew took those words of Jesus seriously. Many believe he was martyred for his faith and died in a similar way to Jesus.
Feel free to share your ideas below of how you encourage your young people to be brave for the cause of Christ.