One of the greatest needs I see regularly among youth leadership all over the world is a need for encouragement. Many involved in youth leadership think, “We are young, we are unschooled, we don’t have the credibility that older Christians in our community have…. We need more support from our elders to really reach kids in our community.”
How the First Disciples Were Fueled by Encouragement
There was plenty of potential for discouragement among the first disciples in the 1st century when the church was in its infant stage. For example, the prominent, powerful, religious leaders of the day were working hard to stop the youthful movement of these disciple’s effort to plant churches.
But then along comes a hand full of Galilean fisherman who had a Gospel vision and seemed un-phased by the obstacles to their mission. When the religious elite observed their boldness, they wondered where they received the authority to start something new. They were threatened by their ideas and by their simple message that invited EVERYONE into their community on the grounds of grace, not works. After watching them from a distance, these influential religious leaders observed an uncanny confidence in this rag tag crew of young leaders. Luke writes:
Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).
“Being with Jesus” Ignites Young People with Baffling Confidence — This is the Fuel that Inflames Youth Movements
I’ve been so encouraged to see over the past six years a small group of Nepali youth leaders confidently introduce hundreds of young people to Jesus. Through evangelism, discipleship, adventure camping and outdoor ministries they have stepped out courageously into the streets of their city and have seen many young people come to Jesus Christ with an incredible thirst to know Him!
Uneducated? Untrained in Youth Ministry? No Worries!
Ever since the dawn of the church, the Holy Spirit has called, equipped, and sent out young leaders with a bold vision to seek and save the lot. Youth Leadership is fueled by the freedom to dream big. Like Jim Eliot said,
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.
In living like this you are in good company with Jesus’ band of young disciples who followed their dream to plant churches to the ends of the earth. May the onlookers in your city look at you and recognize you and your youth leadership team as, “having been with Jesus!”