I should have called this,” Helping Students JUMP Across The Line”. Last night towards the end of my high school small group, I asked my room full of 14 freshman high school guys to be totally honest with me and I asked, “Not counting small group last week or church over the weekend, how many of them had read the Bible in the past week?” I was shocked to see only three hands go up, and they were three of my students that if you asked me I would have guessed they would have been the three. I got every excuse under the sun, “I had sports”, “I had a lot of homework”, “I wasn’t feeling it this week”. The only excuse I didn’t get was that someone’s dog had eaten his Bible.
Though dismayed, I flashed back to my teen years and I probably would have answered the same way, BUT I wasn’t in a small group then, I wasn’t regularly attending church, these guys do those things! I used this as a teaching moment with them to explain that just accepting Christ into your life is great, but you’ll never grow in your faith without having some regular quiet times and spending time reading (and understanding) your Bible. “But I go to church every week!” one of them told me. My answer was, “Going to church every week doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in the garage makes you a car.”
As student ministry leaders we need to realize that a student’s relationship with God is a personal decision, we can’t make it for them. But we can help them grow the relationship with God and their love of Jesus. It’s great to step across the line and accept Jesus into your life and become a Christian, but once that’s done you need to grow and strengthen the relationship. My entire lesson with these guys next week will be on this topic and how they can not just step across the line, but take a running head start and leap across the line.