As I reflected over this past year and thought ahead to the next, I was overwhelmed with Jesus. I know that sounds corny and stereotypical for a ministry newsletter, but if you’re a regular to this newsletter, you know that I shoot straight and don’t try to color-coat life and/or ministry. My thoughts went to the simple truth, “people need Jesus.” When I read the Bible, I see God’s heart break for those who are lost.
As I reflected, I wondered if my heart broke for the lost… or had I settled into being a youth pastor and “playing” church. I hated the truth of my conclusion. I lost sight of the lost. It’s so easy to do this when you’re trying to keep church-kids attending, and not offend church-going members, and think of new ways to teach the same messages to Christians. In doing so, I lost passion for those without Jesus. And when the leader loses passion, its lack of priority is communicated to students.
The last several times I was on a junior high or high school campus, I realized I was more concerned about visiting one of “my” youth group kids and watching them play a game than I was thinking about the 75% who will never visit a youth ministry. I’m embarrassed to admit… my evangelistic passion was low. Oh, at church, I taught the Good News, I preached salvation, and I communicated the principles of being born again… but that was mostly to churched kids. I’m ashamed to admit I was just talking to myself and preaching to the choir.
Evangelism is all about LOVE and I did a good job loving the churched kids, I just didn’t love the lost. But, I’m going public with this… I want this year to be different. Students need Jesus and I know what can happen when a student’s life is fully invaded by the presence of Jesus—it’s indescribable. I know that God can accomplish his work without me, but I know he uses those who are willing. And I’m tired of holding hands of youth group kids who would rather be a “holy huddle” than be part of a movement of love that not only embraces the lost, but pursues them.
Well, I guess you know my new year’s resolution… what’s yours? I thought all the biblical purposes were burning in my life (evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and worship)… but, upon deeper investigation, the flame was pretty dim when it came to pointing others to Jesus. What a task! What a responsibility! What a shame! I wasted a year by not being more intentional, and seeking those who grab the heart of God—the lost. That 15 year old boy in Florida, who took his life the other day by flying a plane into a building, was lost, and could have been different, had he known Jesus. It’s all about Jesus. To those of you who burn with passion for those without Jesus… thanks. Thanks for picking up the slack for the youth workers like me.
Have a great year pointing students to the radical love of Jesus!