We rant and rave about the drugs, depression, social media and violence that are ravaging our youth. And, yes, these are critical issues that must be faced head on and dealt with. We are in a cultural moment where the church is reeling. Pastors morally failing, congregations politically dividing, BLM, CRT, OMG. We are living in crazy times. And many pastors are whirling, running from one dumpster fire to the next trying to throw a cup of water on each of them. But, as the church, we often forsake playing offense when it comes to youth ministry.
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. Matthew 16:18
It’s not our job to put the fires out. It’s our job to preach the Gospel and to get our congregations doing the same. As Charles Spurgeon once said, “It’s the whole business of the whole church to preach the whole Gospel to the whole world.“
So what’s a pastor to do? What action can a church leader take that will put the fires out once and for all? It’s not just about taking vapes out of their hands or Smartphones out of their rooms.
It has been said, “The best defense is a good offense.” It’s about calling them to something bigger, something better, something biblical. We must help our teenagers grasp the glorious reality of the Gospel, that salvation is more than a ticket to heaven, it’s a train ride through life that reveals their true identity, belonging, and purpose in Christ.
We must inspire them to be used by God, to be change agents on their campuses, and ambassadors of Christ in their communities. We must treat the teenagers in our churches, not as apathetic narcissists waiting to be entertained, but as missionaries waiting to be unleashed.
Pastors, church leaders, youth leaders: it’s time for playing offense.
Now is the time to mobilize your congregation and your youth group to advance the Gospel. Now is the time to energize your people to share the cure for racism, division, confusion, and delusion.
I saw this play out in my own family growing up. My family and our neighborhood was a violence-drenched mess. My uncles were so violent that the Denver mafia nicknamed them “the crazy brothers.” To add insult to the real possibility of injury our very Welsh and very white family was right in the middle of a largely Latino community. Suffice it to say that our streets and hearts were rife with racism.