One of the components of the Summit Creative Writing Competition (for teens) has been an onsite, impromptu piece in addition to the one they do at home before the event. One year the assignment was to write a letter to Journey leaders. Our overall winner that year was Breanna Franks and we especially liked her advice to leaders. We thought we’d share it with you.
One of the key verses in the Awana club handbooks is 1 Timothy 4:12 – Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Chances are nearly every teen in your Journey program is familiar with this verse.
They know it.
They can recite it.
But the question is: Do they live it, and how can you help them to do so?
Since the l950s, young people between the ages of 12 and 20 have been dubbed “teenagers” and are given low standards and even lower expectations by adults. This is quite unfortunate. The reality is that young people, for the most part, desire to be achievers and need adults who have high expectations for them.
Do you want to be a leader who impacts your youth in a big way? Challenge them. Challenge them to live with high standards. Impress upon them the importance of living in a way that pleases God. Encourage them to go above and beyond what anyone thought they could!
Matthew 5:13 says that believers are the salt of the earth, but if we don’t behave in such a way, we are virtually useless. Alan Redpath said, “It is possible to have a saved soul, but a lost life.”
The culture doesn’t need any more bland Christians.
Encourage your youth to share the gospel – now.
Encourage them to be responsible – now.
Encourage them to take life seriously – now.
It only takes a generation to change a culture for better or for worse. As a Journey leader, you have been given charge to help direct a piece of this generation. You can fill their heads with knowledge and their mouths with Scripture and that is a good thing. But you have also been given the opportunity to fill their hearts with the desire to follow God and live the way He desires.
If you do that, you have done a great thing.