After a week of being laid up with the flu, we are continuing the series we started not long ago about 6 things that students need to see modelled in our lives as their leaders. You can check out the other two here and here.
As leaders there are lots of things we can preach that will get students excited, and few things bring the irregular attenders out like a series on dating a relationships save for a series on sex of course. The fact that so many students have a desire to know what the Bible says about dating and relationships means that we need to make sure that when we preach it, that our students have already seen it modelled in our lives first as married people and dating couples.
Dating: When it comes to dating I am all for members of your youth staff team dating. They are young, share similar passions, love Jesus so why not? My motivations are of course to see them find a potential mate but also that I truly believe that a student can learn so much about honour, respect and other parts of a healthy dating relationship by watching someone they respect. If those leaders maintain healthy physical boundaries with their BF/GF and keep their relationship with Christ the most important, it is an absolutely beautiful thing. The flip-side of that is that if by chance they happen to break up, the fact that they are both committed to the ministry and a small group forces their hand to pursue a healthy and honourable breakup as well. From a teachable life lesson stand-point, its a win-win for our students.
Marriage: Sadly, your students have pretty low expectations on the success and longevity of marriages, even yours. They are inundated with messages about soaring divorce rates, growing numbers of people not getting married at all and many having a lived reality of growing up in a broken home. Our job as married Pastors and youth workers to show them that a healthy God honouring marriage is possible. I follow a lot of people on Twitter and one that reminds me about this value is Carl Lentz. He is the Lead Pastor of Hillsong Church in NYC (Twitter) and he regularly tweets things to the effect of “the most important thing I can do for my kids is love their mom.” He tweets regularly about his affection and appreciation for his wife, her talent, beauty etc and I think there is something very wise about that. Celebrating marriage, monogamy and a heart to stay married is important to give young people a hope that their marriage does not have to end as a statistic.
Students need to see healthy relationships, they need to know that it is possible to date and stay pure, and that not every marriage ends in a divorce. We need to do our best to model this for our students so that when it comes time to preach it, the message will be one that they have seen a living illustration of already.