In part one, we explored our role as youth workers in why some of our students make spiritual decisions they later deny or dismiss.
What are we to do about this? Let me offer three suggestions.
We need to change our thinking.
As leaders, we must refuse to bow to the pressure to produce measurable results and recommit to seeing teenagers experience a life-changing encounter with a living God. We must be re-energized by the idea that God really can and will change the lives of our students when we allow Him to do it His way in His timing. We need to view each student as a person in need of God’s grace, not as a project that needs to be conquered for Christ.
We need to get a fresh perspective.
When you are working from a motivation of love, you grow a greater desire to see your students run headlong into the arms of Christ. You realize that the same old “every head bowed and every eye closed” may get you numbers to report to your pastor, but it may not bring the life-change you are praying for with your students. When you love someone, you want the best for them…and, in this case, the best thing is a love relationship with God through His Son Jesus.
We need to be patient.
My first step was to have faith that God would do what He has promised. In Isaiah 55:11, God promises that His word will never return void. In John 12:32, Jesus says, “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” I realized that it may not happen the way I expect it to, or when I expect it to, but if I am faithful to communicate the gospel in all of its power, He will be faithful to draw my students to Himself.
I wanted to respect my students enough to give them the time they needed to make such a significant spiritual decisions as these. I began to see that when I allowed a student to fully examine the claims of the gospel, they took my request more seriously. It now seems to me that when we allow the Holy Spirit to have time to work in a student’s life, God will work miracles we can’t reproduce.
So when will students make spiritual decisions that last for a lifetime?
- When our students sense that we love them and sincerely desire to see them fully become the person God created them to be.
- When we accurately communicate the truth of the gospel in all of its power.
- When we allow students time to investigate the value of the decisions we are encouraging them to make.
- When the Holy Spirit works in their lives and convicts them of their need for following King Jesus.