Change Them While They’re Young

One of the best times to change the course of someone’s life is when he or she is young.

The opportunity for change is ripe.

Many of you were changed because of something during your teenage years. For some, it’s a friendship with someone you respected, who helped you see the world in a new way and grow. Others changed from a trip taken out of your city, state, or country.

Travel changes us because we’re forced to adapt to a new environment, new people, and new sights. Travel when we’re young instills adaptability and an adventurous spirit that often carries throughout the rest of our lives.

Teenagers are uniquely positioned to do great things. Youth is a prime time for change.

When You Were Young

  • When we’re young, we’re still forming our thoughts about the world. (We should do that well into adulthood, too.)
  • As teenagers, we didn’t get too obsessed with our future because we couldn’t help but stay in our present.
  • When we’re young, we haven’t lived long enough to get jaded like many adults. We haven’t picked up the disillusioned sense of frustration that grownups tend to adopt.
  • Young people can take the pressure. The world is brutal, challenging, and constantly in motion, but young people are up for the challenge because they know that growth requires change. And they believe that there are good things to celebrate.

The young are looking for leadership, people who won’t just babysit them, but invest in them and invite them to something bigger than themselves. They want to play a part in the world, not just watch it go by.

This isn’t to say that students don’t have flaws; of course they do, just like everyone else. But they still have a whole life ahead of them to learn, grow, and decide what they will live for. If they learn sooner than we learned, they’ll give problems a better run for their money. They’ll solve issues sooner than we could.

Investing in the Future

When we provide them a chance to look beyond themselves to something bigger, we are investing in the future. We tell young people we support them by being present and available for them, helping them get where they want to go.

We don’t have to talk down to them; we need to speak up to them.

We have to start trusting them with more so they can learn from experience. They will learn from their failures. They will become the leaders we need to take us further.

“If you delegate tasks, you create followers. If you delegate authority, you create leaders.” – Craig Groeschel

I believe in the next generation. Even if some snapshots we get of today’s teenagers can be cause for concern, it is not the whole story. Yes, some of each generation will cause more work for everyone else than the progress they contribute. But I think a larger number of them will contribute throughout their lives because they want to make a difference already.

Students are not the church of tomorrow; they are the church of today. (Tweet that.)

That’s why I’m in Daytona Beach, Florida this week as the social media support staff for NewSpring Church’s biggest student event of the year: The Gauntlet. I believe these students are the leaders, pastors, counselors, mentors, and hard workers of tomorrow. But they’re also stepping up now.

The wave starts in the student section,” they say at Fuse.

These students from South Carolina are passionate about connecting with each other and connecting with Jesus. They are being changed by God while they’re young, and their lifestyles of transformation can continue through the rest of their lives.

The next generation needs us to believe in them. Will you?

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Follow along what I’m doing this week with #Gauntlet14 on NewSpring’s Twitter and Instagram.

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