Teenagers have no greater—or scarier—mission field than their own schools. If you want your students to be a light for the gospel this school year, now’s the time to ramp up your efforts to train, equip, and encourage them in the areas where they might be nervous to live for Jesus.
To start, here are three key reminders every Christian teenager needs to hear from you as school begins:
- You have a mission to accomplish. You’re not a student just because it’s important to go to school. As a Christian, school is your mission field. Every teenager-filled table in the cafeteria is a “field” waiting to be cared for and harvested. You have the good news that kids really need but don’t know they need. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19). This cause, THE Cause, applies to you as you seek to reach your friends and acquaintances with the gospel. It applies as you make more friends with the hope of introducing them to your best friend, Jesus Christ. If you’re not sure how to share your faith, watch “A 4-Minute Crash Course in Sharing Your Faith” and check out other gospel-sharing resources such as Life in 6 Words.
- You’re not alone. As you walk through the school doors, remember God’s words to you: “‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?'” (Hebrews 13:5-6, NIV). Don’t be afraid of bullies or critics. Why? The King of kings is with you! The one who gives the bullies breath has your back as you walk through the hallways. So enter your school with a holy, humble confidence that Jesus is with you—because he is!
- “Do your best—forget the rest.” Tony Horton, the physical-fitness guru who developed P90X, uses this mantra over and over in his workout routines to encourage exhausted athletes. He tells them to take a break from the exercises if necessary but to make sure they’re pushing to do their very best without losing form. The results are amazing! How do users get such great results? They do their best and forget the rest! I use this same reminder with my own kids, who struggle a little in math. I constantly remind them to do their very best and to concentrate until the light turns on. To be honest, I can tolerate a lot of things as a dad, but I can’t tolerate slacking or a lack of effort. If the effort is there, then people can learn and even master almost any skill or subject through sustained effort. You are the Lord’s representative at your school, so do your best and forget the rest. Remember that the ultimate “teacher” you’ll give an account to (just as I will) is Jesus, so “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24, NIV).
One fantastic way to give teenagers a heart for the lost and kickstart a gospel-advancing mindset in your youth group this fall is to attend Dare 2 Share LIVE. This national simulcast is coming to 72 locations across America on September 23. Take advantage of this catalytic event for teenagers. It will pay dividends for the entire school year!
As summer wraps up and students head back to school, help them see that the real mission trip is just beginning. Encourage them with the three crucial reminders above. Pray for them and help them brainstorm how they can reach their schools with the hope found only in Jesus.
And as a youth leader, remember to do your best. Forget the rest!