As we seek to incorporate THE Cause into our ministries, PRAYing is definitely the first step in that process. As we lift up our teens, their lost friends, our lost friends, opportunities to share our faith, etc., we must also seize the opportunities to LIVE THE Cause in our own lives as well!
I believe one of the central reasons we need to share our faith and live THE Cause ourselves is that the teens we minister to will see right through us if we ask them to “do as I say, not as I do.” Any influence and credibility we might have with them will be destroyed if we are challenging them to do things that we aren’t willing to do ourselves. We will no longer be seen as Youth Leader, leaders of Youth. Quite simply, we’ll be hypocrites.
As the “mature” Christians in the room we need to live this out and set the example because Jesus commanded us to do it in Matthew 28:18-20. He told us to make disciples, so we need to make disciples because He said so. Paul lived in obedience to Christ’s call to make disciples and I love how he communicates this idea of “monkey see, monkey do,” to the Corinthians beleivers in 1 Cor 10:33 – 11:1, “I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved. And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.”
As Youth Leaders we should imitate Christ just as Paul did. Jesus obviously lived out THE Cause and set the pace for evangelism in His own Youth Group. That’s right….Jesus was a Youth Leader. You think I’m joking, but check this out:
In Matthew 17:24-27 we see Jesus and the 12 disciples go into Capernaum to the Synagogue. When confronted about paying the temple tax, only Peter and Jesus pay the temple tax with the 4 drachma coin that Peter finds in the mouth of the fish. If we cross reference this event with Exodus 30:14 we find that the temple tax, originally the Tabernacle tax, was only paid by those who were 20 years old or older. If Peter and Jesus were the only 2 out of their group of 13 that paid the tax then the implication is that the other 11 disciples were 19 and under…teenagers! (thanks for this cool piece of Youth Ministry theology Greg Stier!)
Jesus set the example for His own Youth Group and for the rest of the world. He then sets the expectation that we’re all supposed to live it out ourselves. As we communicate this mandate from Jesus Christ to the teens we influence then we had better be doing it ourselves as well.
Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a living presence. – Samuel Taylor Coleridge