Disciples Must Be Prepared To Hear Hard Things

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” John 6:60

Growing up is hard. When we are babies we hear the word no many times,

No! Don’t touch that

No! Get that out of your mouth

No! Get off there.

These no’s we here are often to keep us from hurting ourselves. We cry, pout and get angry whomever has denied us our pleasure.

When we are young teenagers, we continue to hear the word no

No! You can’t go out with those friends

No! You can’t see that movie

No! You can’t have a raise in you allowance.

More hard things to hear. Disappointment, outrage, injustice follow.

Then we become adults. A new freedom We can do what we want. Go wherever we want to go. The words “no you can’t…” has change to

You have to study longer and harder to get that degree

You have to work harder to get that promotion

You have to love deeper to get/keep that relationship

We move from the word no to meeting expectations. As Christians, the teaching get’s harder still,

Love your enemy

Give to those who have nothing

Accept those who are not like you

Jesus had just spent the last few minutes talking to His disciple about eating his flesh and drinking his blood. Jesus spoke of being the bread of life to the world. In this moment, it was too much.

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. John 6:66

This teaching was too far of a stretch for them.

I am sure Nathaniel did not mind hear that he would see angels ascending and descending when Jesus invited Him to follow.

I am sure Peter did not mind hear that his new name meant rock or that he as invited to walk on water.

I am sure Jame and John were excited to learn that they would sit with Jesus in heaven.

Christians love to hear all that God will do for them, but when Jesus teaches a hard thing, we bow out heads and sulk at the notion that we must do something we do not want to do.

Nathaniel, Peter, James and John stuck around. In response to Jesus’ teaching they said,

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:68,69

What will you do the next time Jesus tells you a hard thing? Will you walk away in discouragement or step up and believe. Where else have you to go?

 

 

Youth Ministry Is Not A Democracy

I’ve tried my best to please kids, to a point, but youth ministry is not a democracy. Some things are not up for a vote.

I don’t let kids vote what music is played in the youth hall or the van , I set the standard and give them options.

I don’t let them vote on the name of the youth ministry, I dribble out a few names to a few  students to see what they think, and then we decide.

I don’t let them vote on where they go to camp, even if that means some do not go.

I don’t let them vote about what I preach on.  I listen, ask questions, and let the Holy Spirit reveal it.

Can you imagine Moses taking a vote to go into the promise land?

Can you imagine Joshua taking a vote whether they should attack Jericho?

It’s not up for a vote if we’re going to feed the poor, share Jesus with the lost, have worship, or care of the lonely.

Can you imagine Jesus taking a vote on wether the disciples wanted to get in the boat and go to the other side?

We should always build consensus with young people, but young people do not know what they want, only want what is best of them, and most,  do not understand the consequences of their choices; this is why they need a leader not a friend.

We should always listen, talk, and even debate, but some things, most things,  are not up for a vote. Leaders have to lead and students will decide if they want to follow or not.

 

 

5 Keys To Fixing Your Broken Disciple Making Process

Our responsibility as adult believers and our role as youth workers, Sunday School teachers,, Pastors, or small groups leaders is to disciple people, to help them in their walk with Christ. These words from the Apostle Paul give us a clear five part strategy for engaging  and leading, especially students, to a God honoring life.

“For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”

1.”we dealt with each of you”

The Apostle Paul took an interest in people, individual people. Look at how many individual names he calls out in the closing of many of his letters. If we are to lead people into a God honoring life we cannot exclusively do it from the pulpit, the altar, or the classroom; we have to do it face to face.

2. “as a father deals with with his own children”

For some of my students, I am the only “spiritual parent” they have and we, as a team, have the privlege to be spiritual fathers and mothers to them and speak into their lives. Let’s work with kids as a parent works with their small children, with patience, listening for clues of what they may need, and withholding judgement because they’re going to mess their pants quite a bit.

3. “encouraging”

After every gathering we should look for ways to encourage new believers  who participated by saying things like,

  • You are making great progress
  • Thanks for being brave and sharing your heart
  • What you said was right on point.

The more we affirm students for taking risks the more risks they will take.

4. “comforting”

I like to say I failed my way into the ministry because of all the mistakes I made growing up, but it was the comfort my mentors gave me when I blew it that made the difference. Kids who are doing their best need our comfort that they are not spiritual failures and that God loves them as much in their failures as in their successes.

5. “urging you to live lives worthy of God”

Occasionally, we have to light a fire under someone to get them going. I’m usually lighting them under kids who profess to be believers but haven’t done much and are wasting the potential God gave them. Take time to urge church kids who seem to know it all to serve, go, and live to the glory of God.

Your Turn

Which of these keys to discipleship do you do well?

Which key(s) do you need to work on?