Billy Graham was a lost sixteen-year-old high school student when he walked the isle of a revival in Charlotte, North Carolina, to accept Christ. Mother Teresa was fourteen when she gave her life to God and eighteen when she left home for good to join the Sisters of Loreto. At the age of thirteen, Martin Luther King Jr. denied the resurrection of Jesus in Sunday School and confessed he had doubts about Christianity and the Bible before entering the ministry and seminary at age nineteen.
These are three of my personal heroes. Sometimes we are tempted to think great Christian leaders and visionaries are simply born. But, as a youth pastor, I like to remind myself that these leaders and world changers were once teenagers who were awkward and confused and needed someone to love, teach and nurture them into the inspiring figures they are today.
The Bible says that even Jesus in His teen years “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). That’s what adolescence is all about: growing up, increasing what you know and becoming who you will be. But no one does this alone. We all stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. We are all indebted to someone: a parent, a coach, a teacher or relative who cared enough to show us the ropes and pour into our lives their wisdom and example.
I often wonder where the world would be if someone hadn’t poured into the lives of Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King Jr. during their difficult teen years. And I am constantly aware that the next great spiritual leader might be a bored or lonely kid sitting in my youth group.
What seeds of revivals to come wait to be planted in the hearts of our young people today, only to bear fruit decades from now? What world changing missionaries sit in our youth Sunday school classes each week waiting to be taught and inspired? What future leaders and dreamers are attending our church disguised as aimless adolescents who are in need of a firm foundation from which to launch the next big movement of God?
There are hundreds of youth here at JCBC and thousands more in their schools waiting to be reached. These students need someone older and wiser to show them how to do life and how to follow Jesus. They won’t all become pastors or missionaries or world leaders, and that’s ok. It’s not just ok, it’s God’s plan. You see, God’s plan, God’s Kingdom, needs all kinds of people doing all kinds of things: teachers, coaches, CEO’s, moms, artists, musicians, writers, contractors, doctors, lawyers, pilots, policemen, accountants, and secretaries. The list goes on and on. It doesn’t matter so much who our young people choose to become or what they do, just as long as they do it for God!
The question is who will help this generation become who they were meant to be? Who will take up the task of training those who will lead the church when we no longer can?
You don’t have to be young or cool to make an impact in the life of a teenager. You don’t have to wear hip clothes, or be good at sports, or know how to tweet or use an iPhone. If you love Jesus, and if you love teenagers and want to make a difference in their lives, then you have what it takes.
On March 2nd, you are invited to our mobilization fair. There will be many opportunities to take a next step in your journey with Christ. My prayer is that you will find one or two that fit you. As you pray and prepare for that, I hope you will remember that today’s teens are looking for someone to show them how to love God, love people, and follow Jesus.
Maybe your “next” is helping the next generation find theirs…
Johns Creek Baptist Church
In preparation for the Mobilization Fair, take some time to browse the numerous ways you can join the Mission of God, by clicking here.