Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Four Motions- Part Four

Live Differently

Finally, we come to the end of our Four Motions. This motion, perhaps the most important, is the gospel distinctive. This motion tells us not only to invest in the little city God has placed us in, or to simply connect with people or even to help seek the positive transformation of our culture... but to do one more thing which makes all the others worthwhile. To give the big city it's "light on a hill".

Jesus commends us in his sermon on the mount not to "hide their light under a basket". Simply doing all of the things that would make a church missional without taking the time to actually live differently means that you have simply gotten off mission. Our students must show the people within their spheres of influence how a life lived in light of the gospel can actually make a difference. This distinctive will quite simply make or break our world. God has given us the mantle of responsibility. It has been given to the church alone, and if we do not accomplish it... no one will. And to do that, we must live our lives in a counter-cultural way.

We must draw together, as we draw others and ourselves closer to God. We must live differently, not so that we would brag to the world "this is our faithfulness" or that we might have the audacity to say to God "this is my part in my salvation" but that we would live differently so that our world might be infected with the "good infection" of the gospel.

Big Idea: Live in such a way as to not draw the wrath of God.
Bigger Idea: Live in such a way as to draw the world to God.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Four Motions- Part Three

Engage Relationally

Perhaps this is where the whole ball of wax falls apart. First, a definition. Engaging our world means that we don't retreat away from it. Remember Jeremiah 29? That whole idea. But engaging relationally is more than on an institutional basis. More than an address change for the Jews, God called them into the city to seek it's welfare. To serve.

You can't do that without investing yourself not only in the institution, but the people. Simply, engaging relationally is when Christians develop meaningful relationships with non-Christians. Some may call this relational evangelism... I think the world calls it just showing up. For students who are Christ followers, there is the propensity to shun those who aren't Christians, or to look down on them. When I was in school, the group of Christians ate together. Sat together. Walked together. Talked together. And... to no one else. If you weren't in the group, about the only time that you were talked to was a random day when they were handing out tracts.

It's time that we Christians learn how to show love. It's time we show up. Steve McCoy posted an article recently about this. He argued that we shouldn't say "love the sinner, hate the sin" without actually lifting one finger to show love to them. Some students need to be challenged to develop relationships with non-Christians, otherwise they will never be able to transform their culture. Really, this motion goes hand-in-hand with the fourth, Live Differently, which gives students a handle on how their conduct should reflect Christ. But there is no doubt, Christians should be in the process of developing relationships with non-Christians wherein the friend is given a glimpse of what their life could be like with Christ.

Big Idea: Students sharing Christ with others.
Bigger Idea: Students sharing Christ with others through meaningful relationships.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Four Motions- Part Two

Invest Wholeheartedly

In Jeremiah, the people of God were taken to Babylon during the exile. The plan of their captors was to exterminate them by way of assimilation. Hopefully, with enough exposure to Babylonian culture, and given enough time, the Jewish people would become like them. The Jewish people would lose their identity. Sound familiar? Sound like what has happened to Christianity and the culture?

At any rate, the Jewish people were left with three options. Option one, give in to it. Let their identity be washed away by embracing the new customs, traditions and religion of their captors. Which is the option that most 'Christians' have chosen. They call themselves Christians but they really don't live like it. Our schools are full of these type of people.

Option two, move out. Simply live outside the city. Create a Jewish subculture that ignored the pagans in the city. Their idea, led by a false prophet, was that given enough time, the heathen culture would destroy itself (and rightly so, they are heathen after all!). This is the option that many Christians have chosen as well. They listen to their own music, shop at their own stores, hang out with only the Christians and the rest of the 'lost' people (who would probably be bad influences after all) are simply ignored.

God, in Jeremiah 29, chooses Option three. Option three: Invest Wholeheartedly. He tells them to move into the city, build houses, build businesses, build families and to pray and seek the welfare of the city- yeah, the city that was holding them captive. This is what must happen for our youth to take their schools for Christ. They must invest themselves in the actual institution of their school. Not to blend in to it, so that no one knows they are a Christian (the betrayal of Motion Four) or to separate themselves so that they don't really even know any non-Christians in any real way (the betrayal of Motion Three). They must seek to be influences of good, Christ-centered change. This means they seek positions in student government, clubs, sports and in their academics so that they might be strategic for Christ.

Big Idea: Teaching your youth to live in such a way as to not cause a scene at school.
Bigger Idea: Teaching your youth to live in such a way as to make their world a better place.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Four Motions- Part One

Love Passionately

All of the motions are slight turns from normal ways of thinking about youth ministry or some aspect of it. The first, Love Passionately, deals with the motivations for evangelism/missional living. It's one thing to guilt a student into helping put on a rock concert to reach other youth with a gospel message (which you deliver by the way). It's another thing all together to have students praying for and seeking the betterment of fellow students and faculty, through service, love and honestly transparent relationship with kids who don't know the words to "Open the Eyes of My Heart". Most youth groups have problems that stem from not loving. They gossip because they do not love. They degrade because they do not love. They are apathetic because they do not love. They don't form relationships because they do not love. They look down over the nose of legalism at the "heathens" because they do not love. But the problem isn't the listology that most youth pastors feed their kids. Don't gossip or Jesus will hate you! (Okay, exaggeration). The answer is to teach them how to love.

If you want your students to make a difference. If you want them to have the heart of Christ for their school, you can't simply teach them how to use an Evangecube and call it a day. We must roll our sleeves up and do some real work, teaching our students how to love for and seek the welfare of their fellow students.

Big Idea: Getting youth to reach other youth because Christ called them to do it.
Bigger Idea: Getting youth to reach other youth because they love them.