Thursday, 6 December 2012

Looking up to someone.

I've been a 'youth pastor' for almost a year now.  My role at Deception Bay is wider than just youth, but that's where most of my responsibilities lie, and where most of my pastoral relationships have formed.  What I've noticed most is how much young people search for others to look up to.  I am constantly hearing the latest news about different sports people, singers, or movie stars - young people are constantly watching people they admire and, whether they understand or realise it themselves, they begin to emulate those people.

What is sad is how bad a role model a lot of these people are.  Teens are just doing what is natural to their social development, but it is the adults (or even teens these days) who are in the spotlight who let the whole thing down.

For Christians I think there's an even greater element.  How can we expect someone who does not have a Gospel base to be a proper example of life for our Christian teens? It doesn't matter how much charity work they do, how many African kids they adopt, money they give away, people they house or feed... or if they don't drink, swear or fight - they still don't live a life aligned with the Gospel.  Jesus gave us the Gospel as a foundational truth for the entirety of our lives.  It's not an option, or a perspective, it is the truth.  There really can only be one truth (think about it, if there's more than one truth, then some part of each can not really be true... because if they differ then they cannot both be true), and the Gospel is that truth.

As a youth pastor I find the biggest weight on me is to be a proper example of a Gospel filled life. After a year I do see young people looking to me - and I don't feel special, or authoritative or especially gifted and skilled... I feel scared.  But then I realise that more than being a perfect example of a Gospel follower - I am a perfect example of God's grace.  I still stuff up, but because of the Gospel God's grace is sufficient.

If you are a Christian who interacts with young people - make sure you're willing to be an example (no matter your age) of God's grace.  Don't show young people what you can do on your own... show them what you can only do and be because of God.  Young people need examples like that to take the place of these famous people who simply can't be that example, because they don't understand that grace.

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