The Teen Decade and The Compass
Here are 6 tips for every Youth Leader to help students through the next decade:
Focus on the message of the Gospel. There is nothing shifting about Truth. Our promotion of Truth to young people will be a rock steady ground for them to walk on. When all around our souls give way, He then is all our hope and stay.
Teach teens how to evaluate everything they hear. They must learn to be critical thinkers and to discern the messages. Even if a student is questioning God, they can still get an answer. Allow students to question, but, help them not to doubt.
Avoid extremes. Be as consistent as possible in their lives. Even in crisis we must model a strength they do not see in the world around them. Be careful of statements such as "The sky is falling", but, also, "Everything is okay." Students know better. That life is somewhere in between.
Examine yourself and be prepared to live a life that is seen by all. The world we live in does not allow us much privacy. Guard your time. Integrity is the most important commodity you control. Psalm 119 says that if we keep His commandments and hide them in our heart that we would walk rightly.
Guideline #5Mentoring is a must today. The place we have walked as Youth Leaders is the place our students wish to walk as young adults. I ask young people all the time; "Who would you want to be buried next to?" Be the person that someone would want to be buried next to. Accountability is one thing. Being an Editor in someone's life is much more important.
Love the process. Don't let them skip the struggle. The obstacle is part of the training. No athlete worth a medal or a trophy competed without resistance. Patient in the trials. Our mess will often turn into His message.
Be the compass. Be the family, be the education, be the civil leader, be the social guide for teens today. They are watching. More than you think, they are longing to be led. Let's not allow the 21st century shaking to affect the young people around us. Get up every morning and decide that you will be a thermostat. Set the temperature around you. Create a culture of excellence with the guidelines. Through our leadership and modeling, we could see the largest generation of leaders rising from the ashes of our present circumstances.