Monday, February 18, 2008

One of the struggles I consistently see in ministry that involves students, are young men who are surrendered to the Lord, and will follow Him with abandon.

Our culture vies hard for their attention, and desires for them to be involved in so many different things. Even within the church, when a young man displays leadership qualities, he is generally plugged in quickly. I am not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, but we need to be sure they are getting the discipleship they need outside of their leadership arenas.

The problem seems to be there are not enough of them to go around to fill the needs that are present in ministry.

While looking at this, I am thankful and mindful of that fact that there are many women who are available to be used by the Lord as He needs them. The godliest young women I know are also looking for young men who are strong in their faith.

The competition for a young mans heart is significant. Most want to be found desirable, by young women. Most want to be favored in a crowd. Most want to be accepted by their peers. The majority want to be the best possible in any pursuit that captures their attention.

All of these things bring definition and meaning to life experiences, and most believe these things help define who one is.

It seems to me that we have on our hands a culture that teaches young men to be more about the worldly pursuits and less about godly ones.

While gratification in these pursuits are generally short lived, the over arching principle of being accepted seems more appealing than going against the majority, to truly take a stand for what matters in life...the things of God.

Real answers in our lives are never going to be found in population contests, or who is the best in any sport. Those things will bring crowd approval, but are often accompanied by men who read and believe their own press, and soon fall out of favor.

We must do something to reach the hearts and minds of young men to help them understand that the needs the Lord has for them, outweigh the needs they have for personal gain. We need godly men to invest in the lives of young men.

One of the things that tended to set BJ apart was how he pursued men who were deep in their faith and knowledge. There were men around that he could engage at church, and he did. He went beyond that and sought to build relationships, even long distance ones that could be cultivated over the internet. These allowed him to ask deep, hard questions.

I was in contact with two such young men recently. Both are student pastors now. One is a doctoral candidate at his seminary. I am most thankful for both of these men and their influence in BJ's life. He did not accept just anything they told him. He wanted proof and would dig into the Word with them to find it. He offered alternative postulations to whatever they were studying and didn't believe just because they said it was so.

How do we turn the tide in our culture to causing more young men to be interested in the things of God? For every young man like BJ, I know many times that number that are found seeking their mentors in athletics or other fields that appear glamorous and/or wealth producing.

It begins, by each of us being surrendered in our own walk with Christ. Then we each need to take interest in those who are around us. I have learned to believe in the ones who seem unlikely to amount to much. Invest in them, and see them flourish. We have to pray for them. All of them. There are no "lost causes," out there.

The Lord desires that "none should perish." We need to align our desires with His. We must believe in these that are around us. We've got to love them through these difficult years, where godliness seems most connected to weakness, in most of their eyes.

There are too many examples of fallen men around. Young men often equate this with the impossibility to live a Christian life with success. Fallen men are not useless. They may be broken, but God uses brokeness to demonstrate His power and ability to restore.

We need to learn to glorify God through our brokeness, that He might raise up those He wishes to walk in His power, with His authority.

We tend to be quick to judge the fallen and condemn their efforts.

Failure in attempt is a part of the Christian experience for each of us. We need to love others through those difficult times in the same way we would want to be cared for.

From the eyes of a young man, it would seem to make more sense to seek hard after something that appears to bring fame and riches and be gratified for a moment or two than to seek to be godly, only to fall and be condemned by the very peers they sought to be in fellowship with.

Each of us needs to be more Christlike in our attitudes...loving, forgiving and offering restoration. We cannot turn the tide of a culture if we are not surrendered ourselves. We need godly young men to begin to answer the call of Christ, and to get uncomfortable for Him! We must seek to show them the way.



At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Brent! Oh my ... is this hitting home right now! Please - please pray for us single Christians who struggle with not only becoming the man or woman of God that we are called to be, but to wait on the man or woman of God that we are led to marry! I'm struggling with this SO MUCH right now and I know I have the wrong attitude! Thank you for your words of great wisdom! I know that I am not in the right place when non-believers start to seem and feel more appealing than Christian men!


Greeley, CO


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