“I am the light of the world,” Jesus said. “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Jesus came shining the light of love. And that light rescues and brings the warmth of hope to us in a dark, cold world. As Christians, we know this and it brings us great comfort.
Yet Jesus said something else about being “the light of the world” that, if truth be told, makes most of us at least a little uncomfortable. He said, “You are the light of the world. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15). He said this to you and to me. We are the light of the world.
But here’s a thought that’s probably even more unsettling to you as a youth leader. This call to be “the light of the world,” not only applies to you and me and your adult leaders, it applies to every single one of your teenagers who call themselves Christians.
God has called your students to join Him in the most important job on the planet—the job of being His light and bringing His light to their world. If you envision anything less than mega-wattage lampstand status for your students, you’re setting your sights lower than God has! And He knows all their deepest, darkest secrets better than you do. Yet He’s called them to “shine like stars in the universe” as they “hold out the word of life” (Philippians 2:15-16).
Jesus has called your teenagers to be “the light of the world.” The light of their world! Click To Tweet
So what’s a youth leader to do if a sizeable chunk of your Christian students are clueless (or worse, apathetic), when it comes to knowing how to shine and “hold out the word of life” in a clear, compelling way and share the light of Christ with their friends.
Try This! ❯
Pray, pray, pray for your students this week. Ask God to begin to break their hearts for their friends who don’t know Jesus.
Here are five steps you can take right away.
1. Pray, pray, pray for your students. Ask God to begin to break their hearts for their friends who don’t know Jesus.
2. Start sharing your faith yourself! You can’t model for others what you aren’t doing yourself.
3. Get familiar with the 7 Values of a Gospel Advancing Ministry, then pick two that you’re committed to really focusing in on over the next six months.
4. Identify a few key adults and students you can pour into and begin to bring onboard with the Gospel Advancing Ministry philosophy. Consider bringing a few to a catalytic evangelism training event like Dare 2 Share Live or Lead THE Cause in order to jumpstart your gospel advancing efforts.
5. Research relational evangelism training curricula and select one for your group, then put it on your teaching calendar.
Everyone needs the light of Jesus…just look around you at the students you minister to. And inside you.
Some of us struggle with acceptance—our appetite for more “likes” on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram posts is never satiated. Some of us struggle with a “never enough” attitude—our tech toys are never new enough, their clothes are never cool enough. Some struggle with performance. We strive to do better and better and better, and are never internally satisfied.
Teenagers may struggle with alcohol, drugs, acceptance, complaining, porn, cutting or a hundred other things. And that’s why they all need the light of Jesus.
So let’s motivate and mobilize our young people to be the “the light of the world” and share the Light of the World. Your students can be light in places you’ll never be invited into. Help them shine bright and reach their generation for Christ!