Home Youth Leaders Articles for Youth Leaders How to Address the Student #MarchForOurLives With Your Church

How to Address the Student #MarchForOurLives With Your Church

Jay: They feel like they’re the generation of mass shootings. Well, that there, for somebody who deals with a lot of people on hard issues, that’s a problem for me already…It’s a terrible thing to define yourself by the worst thing that ever happened to you, or the worst things that are happening. If you begin to define yourself by those awful things that are happening, for in the area that I work, obviously, I’m most interested in the idea that we are the image bearers of God. To go to them and say that you are not just victims of mass shootings, you are not just victims of a culture gone wrong, although I agree with both of those things being problems in this culture, you need to start to believe, and to see yourself as an image-bearer of God that can impact this world in powerful ways, if you understand what you are, and the people around you are, and begin to carry yourself accordingly, and to stop seeing this as some zero-sum game.

I win, you lose. You win, I lose, but to start to look at the other people as fellow image-bearers of God, fellow children of God, and to get beyond whatever difference that you see, and to discover realms of tolerance, as you mentioned earlier. That tolerance begins when we disagree. That’s where tolerance starts. You can’t tolerate somebody that agrees with you. That’s not tolerance, that’s agreement. We tolerate the people that we disagree with, and we find ways to reach life-affirming, productive solutions to problems. Don’t allow a generation right now, as Christian leaders, to start to define themselves by the worst things that are happening to them, but to step in and to say, “You are more than the circumstances you have found yourself in.” It’s an opportunity now for us to rise above. Every generation faces evil. This is a particular evil for your generation, that may be different than others, but it’s no different than all the rest of us.

What advice did you give your students who are participating in the walkouts or march?

Chase: We talked about it this week, that it’s not just about the moment. That even though some movements have started from a singular act, but what’s next? Yes, I want your voice to be heard, and I support you in that. I’m with you in that, but what’s next? Who’s the student that is the loner, that you’re going to … As Todd mentioned, there’s no greater mission field than where they’re at right now. They’ll have no greater captive audience to reach than where they’re at right now. What’s next? If these issues matter to you, and I hope that they do, and I hope that there’s change ahead, but what are the next steps? If this is the catalyst for the conversation, the catalyst for change, then I’m with you.

Rodney: I told a few of them that I’m proud of them. I thought it was a great opportunity for them to speak truth to power, and walk in that light that we encourage them to walk into. I think that this is a good opportunity for them just to be able to share their voice. It goes back to one of the questions that you had a little earlier, where we talked about will these laws change? Will any of these laws change? Well, I think it has a lot to do with…the attention span of our young people. What happens after this? How long will we stay with this? I do feel that this is going to impact, because the youth are speaking. When the youth are speaking, saying that I’m hurting, a lot of times, we listen. A lot of times, we listen. The question is, is how long are they going to say, “I’m hurting.”? Or, are they just going to move to the next thing? If they understand that if I stay on this task, if I continue to push this agenda, as young people, and don’t get too swayed and moved to the next big thing, I think that we will see a difference. With that, I told them that I’m proud of them. I think it’s a great opportunity for us, as leaders, teachers, staff, to be able to walk with them through this process. I don’t want to us to miss that. – Rodney Pierre of Discover Life Church