We Must Teach Them

Sometimes the answer is so simple that we fail to see it.

We recently wrapped up Holiday Youth Convention here in the great state of Florida. We were honored and privileged to have Aaron Bounds here to minister to us. During the day session on Friday, he spent some time with Youth Workers. He spoke into our lives, and then participated in a panel discussion. Perusing the questions, I was excited to see this one:

“Pride can be an issue in the lives of students, and yet we want to teach them to use their talents for the Kingdom. How do we involve students without it going to their heads?” 

I think all of us who believe strongly in Student-Led ministry have dealt with this one. I directed the question at Bro. Bounds, looking forward to hearing a pastor’s perspective. What he said was so incredibly simple, and yet it shook me to the core, making me re-evaluate myself as a Youth Pastor:

“We cannot hold students accountable for something we have not taught them.”

It occurred to me…how many times have I shook my head, wondering when my students would “get it,” when it had never been put out there for them to “get?” 

It’s easy for us to forget sometimes that all we have learned about living for God was just that…LEARNED. Every one of us who is reading this right now LEARNED how to read. We didn’t just wake up one day knowing how to read. Someone sat with us and taught us the sounds of letters. They taught us how to put those sounds together. They taught us how to recognize words in those sounds. They taught us how those words came together to formulate sentences, and so on. Basically, they started at the most foundational of levels and built from there.

It would have been much easier for my parents to look at me and say, “Read this book.” As a child, though, no matter how many times they said it, I couldn’t APPLY what they said until I knew how! Often we find ourselves telling students to pray more, telling them to fast more, telling them to steer clear of pride and worldly influences, telling them to live out their faith…but have we taught them? If we haven’t, is it fair to require it?

I want to see this next generation rise and take the same Apostolic mantle that our predecessors have. But I must teach them how to do it. And with the help of God, I will. Will you?

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