In this post, I want to continue unpacking 6 biblical truths I strive to teach students every chance I get.
Again, I’m truly convinced that these answers form the core identity of who we are in Christ, and thus are able to help defeat the strongholds of suicide and bullying. Two extreme issues that our teens are dealing with, some on a constant basis, at home, at school, in sports, and around the neighborhood.
As youth workers, then, we play an extremely important part in leading our students to discover identity and worth within Christ alone. Along the way, my challenge to you is to be sure you are also centering your identity and worth in Christ. Teenagers learn from our actions, not just our words.
In my last post, I focused on our personal identity and worth in Christ, “This is who I am in Christ.” In this post, I want to focus on our communal identity and worth in Christ, “This is who we are in Christ.”
We are a redeemed community, sent to live out the gospel in authentic community with others.
As the love of Christ compels us to live changed lives, so it compels us to be communities of reconciliation, redemption, and restoration (2 Cor 5:16-21). Whether that community is a youth ministry, para-church ministry, after-school program, or even a club during school, a leader determines the atmosphere of the place he or she leads. Therefore, as a leader, create your atmosphere upon a biblical foundation, and lead those under you to create similar foundations in school, at home, etc. Instill within your students the hard truth that Jesus calls us to love those whom we don’t understand or even like (Luke 6:27-36). We are called to be different in our actions, words, thoughts, and our presence (Col 3:1-17). As Christians, we represent Christ, because we’re followers of Christ. The mercy God has shown us, we are called to show others (James 2:13). The grace God has given us, we are called to give to others. His love towards us, becomes our love towards others (1 Cor 13).
We all stand upon the common ground of needing Jesus.
You can literally put every person into two groups of people: those who need to accept Jesus, and those who need to grow closer to Jesus. Simply put, we all need Jesus. This, then, is the solid ground every person stands upon, at the foot of the Cross. Here is where all relationships and ministries begin. Upon this ground, no one is above another, and no one is beyond the love of God. We are equal; saved by the awesome grace and mercy of Christ, who has torn down the walls of hostility and status (Eph 2:16).
The love of Jesus is greater than the lie of suicide, and the threat of being bullied.
Our message in this context is simple: the love of Jesus is better. As leaders, we must first embrace this deep truth ourselves. If not, our students will spot the lie. The love of Christ says we are worth more than any riches the world offers. The love of Christ declares that He chose us to be His, and nothing will change His mind about us. The love of Christ calls us to trust Him, and to lean upon Him, knowing that He will never leave us nor forsake us. The love of Christ leads us to live changed lives, and leads us to offer His hope to everyone around us. Compared to what Christ offers us, the threats of a bully are hollow. Together, we are more than conquers through Him who loves us.
We may never be able to eradicate suicide and bullying from our midst. However, we can definitely lower the number of funerals that occur because of suicide. As youth workers, this must be a fight we arise to, and a message we boldly proclaim. Our student ministries are more than a place to have fun; they are a starting place for global transformation.
Standing with you,