4 Threats to a Students Spiritual Growth
Deconstruction must take place before reconstruction. In these 4 threats, the reality is that most students will need to deconstruct what is already there before reconstructing a life of constant spiritual growth. How does that happen? People who lead the way and give an example to follow. Paul said it like this:
“Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.” -1 Corinthians 11:1
Students need leaders who are identifying and fighting these 4 threats to then lead the way for how students can become aware and on attack against these threats as well.
Question: Who am I?
Leadership Mentality: I will lead myself into silence and stillness with God.
Every student has their identity in something. How you can figure out what you have your identity in is ask yourself, “What is the hardest thing for me to give up?” Is it your job? A title? Your car? Your trophies? Your talent? Your family? How much you serve? Leaders are meant to serve from identity, not for identity. Everyone has their identity in something, but do you have your identity in the best thing?
Identity is forged in the silence and stillness of God. If leaders are not informing their identity from silence and stillness then how will students know how to find their identity in Jesus? Leaders are called to help students clarify and acknowledge false identities while revealing their true identity in Jesus.
Question: Where do I belong?
Leadership Mentality: Belonging starts with me.
One of my biggest convictions as a Student Pastor is the simple question. “Are students finding better community outside of the church?” I do not mean this in a competitive way. I mean it in a way that God intended the church to be a community that crosses generational, racial, geographical, and socioeconomic gaps to fight isolation and to tell the story of Jesus. Even with the greatest story ever told and the greatest mission ever given the body of Christ struggles to have great community. The church cannot afford to take isolation lightly.
Every student has felt lonely, but not every student has felt Jesus-centered community. Therefore, there is not a moment to waste. Every moment with a student is an opportunity for them to find a place to belong. As leaders, belonging has to start with you personally making a decision to commit to God’s people. Belonging starts with accepting, continues with caring, and follows through with faithfulness. How are you actively helping students belong to God’s people?
INTERPRETATION (of God’s Word)
Question: What is truth?
Leadership Mentality: How I interpret the world matters.
Students are either interpreting the world through God’s word or interpreting God’s word through the world. Every day students’ worldview is being informed by their culture, their family, and the media they watch. Students need a group of people in their life who show a different worldview. A worldview built upon God’s word, love of God and neighbor, and prayer.
Leaders who interpret the world through God’s word teaches a student how to view the world more than a sermon ever could. How you interpret the world matters.
Question: Where do I go next?
Leadership Mentality: I will dig deeper.
The best way to encourage inaction is to never go deep. When we challenge students to go deeper then we let them know how important their growth is to us. Leaders cannot take students where they have not been themselves. If we want to be leaders who challenge our students then leaders must be challenged. We encourage stagnation by never going deeper than the surface.
Inaction may not be a sign of laziness. It may be a sign of an unclear next step. If students aren’t taking next steps then ask yourself if you are making next steps as clear and simple as possible for students to take. As leaders, we have to ask ourselves are what we labeling as lazy just an absence of a practical next step, of a specific challenge.
Take a moment to write down students’ names and the symptoms of what threat they may be struggling with right now in life. Keep this to yourself, but pray for your students through the lens of their threat. As you are present with them throughout the week, seize the opportunity to speak God’s Word over their life.
Leadership starts with self-leadership. If you are struggling through one of these threats then seek God to give you wisdom in prayer and solitude. God will help you through the threat. God will use you to help students through their threats. Let’s be leaders who raise the bar. Let’s be leaders who name the threat and by the power of Jesus find victory. Keep fighting.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.