"This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love has been brought to full expression through us." 1 John 4:10-12
You care about the students in your ministry. If you didn't, you probably wouldn't be able to continue to minister to them. The demands are simply too great. Obligation only gets you so far. No, it's safe to say that if you're actively leading teenagers closer to Christ, you have some level of care for them and for their lives.
But how do you express this care for them?
This passage from 1 John teaches us three things about caring for and loving our students:
- The source of love is God. He is love. And He showed His love by sending Jesus to live on this earth and die an atoning death.
- Without a relationship with God through Jesus it's impossible to love others in the truest sense.
- The love of God reaches full expression when we love others.
But what if your "Caring For My Students Meter" is a little on the low side? Hey, it happens to all of us from time to time. The good thing is that you don't have to stay stuck.
First take a look at your relationship with God. You won't be able to love students the way you need to unless your relationship with Christ is in order. Next, you have to put love into action. Encourage your students, minister to the needs of your students, and serve them from a heart full of appreciation for God's first loving you.
The simplest yet most powerful thing a youth minister can do is to show God's love to teenagers.
As you consider how to demonstrate your care for your students, start with God's love for us, and His command to love others. Let your love for your students flow out of Christ's love for you.