Working in youth ministry, it's not uncommon for me to build quality relationships with students. In fact, it's almost a given. One of the main things I focus on once I have a healthy relationship with a student, is being the best spiritual role model that I can for them. This isn't something I take lightly. This is a huge responsibility.
I want to be able to lead them the best that I can. But I can't lead them somewhere I've never been or to somewhere that maybe I used to be, and am no longer there.
I see this all the time.
I see a lot of well intentioned leaders that are trying to lead students somewhere that they aren't at. And most of the time it goes terribly, terribly wrong.
It's no coincidence to me that the phrase, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions," exists.
The group of students that have become the closest to me have a lot of things in common with me when I was their age. I struggled with depression in high school. I still struggle with depression, so I get where they are at. But through the grace of God, I have moved through those difficult and crippling moments. Many of the students in my little bubble are still in those difficult moments. I can walk with them through those moments and past them. I've been there. Many times. But I'm no longer there.
I can show them that they are more than these moments. They don't have to stay there. There is a better life waiting for them.
But for some leaders, the places they are trying to lead students to are just as foreign to them as it is to the students. It becomes this cluttered highway of some of them going one way and the rest getting so lost that they've turned around and headed backwards. Now no one is going anywhere. What started out as good intentions has turned into a huge mess.
Good intentions are just that, good. But good isn't what gives us salvation. Good won't lead students to a healthy and authentic relationship with their Creator. Only Jesus will.
But if I've never encountered more than the basic Sunday School teachings of being a follower of Jesus, I certainly can't lead students towards anything more substantial than that.
Having a spiritual responsibility for students is a terrifying thing to have. But it's also one of the most rewarding. One of my worship team kiddos said it best, "Anointing is so much more precious than perfection."
Students aren't expecting perfection from us. But they are expecting leaders who genuinely care about them as a whole person. They are hungry to be led. But they can't be led somewhere that you've never been.
As always you can keep up with me over at ohhaiiitsbrandii.wordpress.com
Until next time,