In our student ministry we recently finished our big fall event. The theme we chose for the event was #LoveLikeJesus (Hashtag Love Like Jesus). Now in all honesty we chose this theme because I knew that I would be involved in this blog, but at the same time I don’t know how I feel about having to develop a theme for student ministry centered around the idea of something we should be doing all the time. It feels a little like having a theme called #DontForgetToEat or #GetSomeSleep.
As Christians we’re called to be like Christ, I mean it’s in the title, right? Several times throughout the Bible we hear Jesus Himself tell us to; love God and love others, love one another as I have loved you, greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life… it doesn’t just show up in His talks though, He even demonstrates in the way He lived. He stopped to deal with lepers, prostitutes, and even the IRS. I mean come on! You have to actually TRY to miss the point to not understand what it looks like to love like Jesus loved.
The son of the living God came to earth in the form of man to live out the calling we were supposed to adopt. He modeled it all the way to the cross. It was a total commitment on His part. Spoiler alert, He knew where His commitment would take Him and He STILL did it!
In student ministry we have to fight against teen factors like social media, popular culture, and plain old self-centeredness. Trying to get students to adopt the mentality of loving like Jesus is hard. There’s not much in their world that demonstrates that at all. Education promotes individual effort, sports teams promote individual accomplishment, reality television rewards the most selfish and outrageous behavior. Students are being bombarded by the idea of “me first” living and a lot of the time it’s being modeled best by the adults around them. If we’re ever going to see a change in the next generation then I believe that the adults that lead them must experience a transformation first. After all, we’re the Christians that are leading them, right?
So, the next time you see a teen standing around start a conversation with them. That kid behind the cash register isn’t getting a lot of love from customers so treat them well. Help them know that there is a light to the end of that tunnel. That student that’s studying at Starbucks isn’t just there to work, they’re seeking relationships so when they look up say hi and ask them what they’re studying. That student that shows up to hang out with your kids probably wants to know who you are as well, so start a conversation. Please demonstrate how to #LoveLikeJesus because it starts with you, I mean me.