Students are BEST equipped

Written by Jesse Criss and Edited by Michelle Murray-Schlitt

For as long as I can remember I have had a single phrase in my head as a Youth Pastor, “Students are the BEST equipped to reach students.” I’m not 100% sure where it came from. It could have been something my Pastor told me over 23 years ago or just something that has formed over the last 18 years of Youth Ministry. Regardless of where it came from it is the core of what I believe about Youth Ministry.

I became a Christian when I was about 13 years old, around the time I entered Grade 9. Within the year I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to being a Pastor and doing for others what my Pastor/Leaders had done for me. By that time, I was 14 going on 15 and something happened that would change my life. I asked my Youth Pastor to teach me and he said, “Okay what do you want to know?”

He believed that I had something to offer, he believed that I had a voice, he believed that I could lead the people in my world to Jesus. Ultimately, he believed that the Great Commission wasn’t for ADULTS ONLY but rather it was for all believers, including teenagers.

Matthew 28:18-20 “18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

23 years later I still believe this to be true…. the question is do you?

I’ve been around Youth Ministry for a long time and I truly believe something is changing within Youth Culture. I’m not 100% sure I can put my finger on it yet, but I believe it has something to do with actually believing that students can reach students better than you and I ever can. This is a shift for lots of Youth Ministries especially when the Youth Pastor is the expert that gets paid to fix/reach the kids. However, when a student is empowered with the GOSPEL and they believe that the Great Commission is FOR THEM, then anything is possible.

The natural question is, how do I know this is true? Well I just have to go back to the text. Jesus himself says he is with them. Frankly we can stop the conversation there and this is all that needs to be said. Jesus in Mathew 28 says “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me… And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Jesus is declaring that all that He is, all His authority and power goes with him and HE IS WITH US. That implication for a student can literally change their world.

However, the second reason is just as good… they are students. They know students because they are one. They know the drama because they are living it. Our students know how to reach students because this is their world, twenty-four hours a week, seven days a week. They also know what’s at stake. The world is not getting any better and this generation more than any other I think is starting to realize that something needs to change.

On March 24, 2018…

  • 800,000 students marched on DC to advocate better gun regulation in the USA
  • 800,000 students rallied around a cause to save the lives of countless thousands to come.
  • 800,000 students stood up with a collective voice and said “it needs to be different”

What happening in DC was led, planned, organized, developed and was ultimately successful all because of students.  Everything that happened, happened because a group of students said “THIS IS ENOUGH” and we are going to do something about it.

On March 24, 2018 we saw a view of the potential of this generation when they grab hold of the “WHY”. Their message was loud and clear because their lives and the lives of countless more to come are on the line. This is a literal life and death struggle for some of these students. So, they rallied, they marched, they took to social media and now the world is talking. All because they grabbed how of the “WHY” and it’s now informing the “HOW”.

I BELIEVE THAT STUDENTS ARE THE BEST EQUIPPED TO REACH STUDENTS

Matthew 28:18-20 “18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

…the question is do you???

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