By Todd Porter Do you sometimes feel like life just happens and all you do is react to it? Or maybe you feel like you are just a part of a big dream and you're wondering 'when it is time to wake up?' In Erwin McManus’ latest book, Wide Awake, he challenges you to not just to wake up, but to get out of bed and make life happen. McManus starts the book by talking about the movie Unbreakable by M. Night Shyamalan, which is about how “a seemingly ordinary person who discovers he is nothing less than a superhero.” This theme of ordinary people being nothing less than heroes is carried on throughout the book and in the last chapter he shares about how heroes invest in the lives of other people. In Wide Awake, McManus writes, “I’ve been told that my weakness is that I’m too loyal – I can live with that. Time has taught me that relational investment is more than worth the risk. It’s perplexing to me that people can be more committed to their financial investments than what they invest in people. The people you invest in now are the people who will be invested in you tomorrow. And if you live as if you don’t need people, you will get to prove that later.” I like this statement in the context of the hero theme, because heroes are always looking out for people that they can help, which is what we, as Christ-followers should be doing as well.
As a youth minister and Christ-follower I was instantly engaged with what Wide Awake had to say. This engagement is because I've noticed times that some many of us in the Church sit back and watch the world around us happen, and all the while wondering what should be done about it. We get stuck – instead of making the decision to get out there and live life, instead of imagining the possibilities of all that God wants us to do, and instead of dreaming bigger. It is not enough to just go about doing what we think we are supposed to do, but it is time to go out and create what we are supposed to do.
McManus' desire is to see Christ-followers who are pursuing the life that God has for them, which is a message that we, as youth ministers, also need to hear. In addition, it is a message we need to instill in the lives of the students to whom we minister. We need to challenge them to dream bigger than their age and the small world that they live in and help them to dream big dreams, and then to go out and live those dreams. Getting them to realize that the future is within them, and also within you, as we serve a boundless God will help them to go about life wide awake with the knowledge that they (and you) can change the world.