Being A Disciple As You Make Disciples
I talk a lot about discipleship. I can't help it. If you ask me, walking alongside teenagers as they become more devoted followers of Christ is how I define our calling as youth workers. So, as I engage in disciple making with the guys in my small group, I'm also constantly thinking how we as youth workers can be more focused and intentional about this journey.
One of the things that's hit me between the eyes lately is a really simple thought. We can read books and blogs, we can think about our process and programs, we can attend conferences and workshops . . . But if we're missing this one element, we'll never be anywhere near as effective as we could be.
If we're not actively and passionately seeking to grow as disciples ourselves, we'll be largely ineffective in leading our students to grow as disciples.
I realize that's not a profound truth. And some of you reading this are tempted to check out. But I would really challenge you to think about this for a moment.
- Does it seem like we're guilty at times of living our lives as "followers" vicariously through our students?
- Do we want to see a fire burning in them because ours has more or less gone out?
- Do we call on them to resist temptation because our sins have become habits we simply live with?
- Do we challenge them to pursue their passion because we feel like we're stuck in a rut?
Now, I don't expect you to jump up and raise your hand. But I'd ask you to consider if, subconsciously, there might be a grain of truth here. I can readily admit that at times I've been guilty of some of these. At times, I think I've tried to allow the "work" I'm doing in the lives of students count for me. It's like I'm attempting to make some strange bargain with God: "OK, God. You see how I challenged these guys to spend time with you? Well, this week, let's let that count for me."
The problem is it doesn't work like that.
As I've thought about this, it's occurred to me that there are a few things to consider.
We Won't Embrace Something We Don't Value
We can talk all day about the need for us to be disciples ourselves before (or as) we lead students in discipleship. But if it's not something we truly value, if it's not something we see as important, we won't do anything about it. So, ask yourself: Do I really believe it's vitally important for me to be daily pursuing a greater follower-ship of Christ? If the answer is yes, then ask yourself what's keeping your from pursuing Christ more.
We Have To Have A Plan
Or at least I do. I can have the best intentions. But if I don't have a plan for how I will grow in Christ, it doesn't happen. I know, I know. It sounds so rigid for something that for many is so organic. But, that's just how I'm wired. I can long to grow closer to Christ, but if I don't map out what that looks like for me each day, I won't follow through. Maybe this approach would help you too.
Students Can See Through Our Disguise
I've always said, even though it's a tad crass, that teenagers have incredible BS detectors. They know when you're not keeping your end of the bargain. If we're not growing in Christ and yet we're challenging them to, at some point, they'll see through it. And when that happens, it's virtually impossible to get them back.
I'd love to know what you think.
What helps you keep focused on growing closer to God as you call students to do the same?