It’s said that baby rattlesnakes are more dangerous than adult rattlesnakes. It would seem that a bigger, faster, stronger snake would be more dangerous than a snake one-fifth of its size. But it’s not true. The reason isn’t because the baby snake has more toxic venom. In fact, the toxicity of a rattlesnake stays the same throughout its entire life. A baby rattlesnake is more dangerous than an adult rattlesnake because it doesn’t know how to control the amount of venom injected through their fangs. The babies are more dangerous than the adults because they don’t know how to control the power within them.
When you work with students, you’re working with the most potent cultural members of our society. American Idol, The Voice, X-Factor…Who is texting in their votes every single week? Radio stations, record labels, TV shows, Hollywood…Who’s dictating what types of material they produce? American Eagle, Hollister (as awful as it may smell), H&M, and every other culturally relevant clothing and accessory store… Who is massively controlling what they sell? For the majority of our culture it’s the age of 10-25 that dictates what is “popular” and “cool.” Would Beats by Dre be the headphones of choice if most junior high and high school students didn’t want them so badly? No. Don’t let the commercials fool you. Yes, Lebron James and every other famous athlete is in the commercial promoting the product, but it’s the literal selling of the product that enables that little “b” on the headphone to mean anything.
Simply put… The students in your ministry are important to this world. I don’t think they know just how important they are. That’s where you come in.
Someone has a large voice into the most potent people in our culture… You. The ways we teach and live out the gospel of Jesus with our students will have a direct effect on our culture when we are intentional about it.
1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” When our students gripe or moan because they’re young and can’t do “adult” things, how are we encouraging them to see that they’re powerful and strong to bring this culture closer to Jesus through their example? How are we encouraging them to breathe new life into the cultures of our own churches by their example?
Students don’t just have incredible power to shape pop culture, but church culture as well…predominantly in the corporate worship setting. “But our church sings a lot of old hymns and our kids just don’t like it.” So you’re alright with them complaining that church isn’t “cool” when they’ve got the power to do something about it? The “old” people in your church would LOVE to see the youth take some responsibility. They would love to see the next generation of the church begin to take the reigns of responsibility and care for the bride of Jesus. How are we helping them take the reigns? How are we training them to control their potency for the glory of Jesus in the church and in culture?
Give them a chance to serve.
And when you do…watch them own it. Watch them flourish. Watch God take their willingness to serve and begin to shape their hearts for his church. Walk beside them as they begin to experience what it means to be a part of the church and not just go to church. We don’t need the most potent and influential age group in our culture to picket MTV and focus their attention on staying away from watching shows like Glee. We need the most potent and influential age group in our culture to serve Jesus, and in that serve the Church.
A few years ago our students (from Christ’s Church of Oronogo) came back from a week of Christ In Youth’s MOVE event. MOVE is a weeklong event that equips students to become kingdom workers. When they got back from the event there were several students who were wanting to get baptized during our third service. Chad Monahan, the youth minister at CCO, asked students to baptize students. He asked them to serve one another that way. They owned it. After several students were baptized we were still singing the last song. The students were all dancing backstage out of their excitement. So…the backstage people opened the door and let them come out on stage to dance for the remainder of that last worship song. They were all soaking wet, in their blue “gowns”…just dancing. They led the church in worship that morning…simply through their excitement. That was a pivotal moment in our church. The third service that had been somewhat dead, began to liven up. Our students began to come to the third service. Before long adults chose to come to third service because there was more “energy” there. Our students revived a service in our Sunday morning corporate worship setting.
You’ve got a bunch of baby rattlesnakes wanting your attention. They don’t know how much weight they carry. They don’t know just quite how potent they are. Be encouraged today to continue walking beside them to inject the Spirit of the Living God into their culture and their church.