Kids in today’s society are navigating through extreme challenges we adults never faced in our childhood. They have technology in their pockets that gives them access to many opportunities to get in trouble. Pornography, drugs, alcohol, and sexual encounters are so prevalent that kids think it is normal before they hit their teen years.
As a youth pastor, I have hundreds of teenagers who cope with things I can’t imagine dealing with myself. They need to know how to get to a safe harbor. And we need to know how to lead them.
There’s a story about a man who sold his house under the condition that one nail on the front porch would still belong to him, and he could do anything he wanted with that nail. One day he hung an animal carcass on it. The new owner could do nothing. In the end it drove him out, and he lost everything. It’s like the devil. If we allow him to have something small like a nail, he will hang whatever he wants on it and destroy us.
Ephesians 4:27 (NIV) says, “do not give the devil a foothold.” Too many young people are letting the enemy have a foothold in their lives. The devil takes over, and they don’t even know what’s happening. For most of them, it comes innocently. Why? Because Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy—immediately. And he is successful because many kids don’t have someone to navigate them through these things.
They don’t understand things like marriage because they’ve never seen their parents married. They are confused because they see confusion. They go back to what they see, which is wrong. Dads, mentors, pastors, grandfathers, and leaders, it’s time to step up! Make a decision, and say, “I’m not going to let these kids be destroyed any longer!”
My son and I planted two small oak trees in the front yard and secured them with stakes. Soon after, we sold our home. I expected to drive by our old house years later and say, “Son, remember when we planted those trees?” For some reason, the new owner removed the stakes. At first, they fell over. Now they are dead and gone. Why? The stakes were removed.
When we lead youth—students, sons, daughters, grandchildren, any child or young person within our influence—we have to teach them that God must be their stake. Nobody else can take that place, not us, not their pastor. It is God alone. And if that stake is removed, they will fall over just like those trees did.
When I was a youth pastor, I had conversations with my youth leaders, especially new ones. During a service, I didn’t want them doing anything but worshipping, taking notes, listening, and spending time with God. Why? Nothing is stronger for a student’s life than the power of God. And they are setting the example.
Don’t try to be Jesus in that setting. We are not the Holy Spirit. Nothing we say or do is better than what God says or does when young people are in His presence. We need to point them to Jesus, not to us.
Nothing we say or do is better than what God says or does when young people are in His presence.Johnathan Morin
There’s a difference between leading and directing. If I ask someone where to go for an exceptional meal, that person can either give me directions to a restaurant or lead me there. Some people are good with directions. Some aren’t. My wife is not. I can tell her how to get somewhere, and ten minutes later she’s calling, telling me she’s lost!
When it comes to navigating, too many times, we just direct others and hope it works out. But are we showing them? Are we taking them where they will get help? We must be men who lead this generation—not just direct, but lead them to Jesus and show them the way to safe harbors.
See pages 6–7 for more information on A Call to Arms Men’s Conference, or visit rhema.org/cta
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