Due to the fact that we are in between youth pastors at the moment, I have been taking my turn with the teens on Sunday nights leading the youth lesson. Last night we were talking about what it means to be a follower of Jesus. We started with this definition of follower: "A follower is a person who believes in something or someone so much that it is reflected in the way they live their life."
The 25 minute bible study that ensued was quite enlightening. The students shared openly of some of the experiences they have faced as Christ-followers. The challenges in their schools and social orbs are huge! While I had my share of struggles as a Christian in my teen years, today's student really has to be committed to the right path, realize that it is a spiritual battle, and remain focused on God's plan for his or her life.
I have to say that I was impressed with their thoughtful comments and the transparency they showed as they communicated their struggles. My take-away from the evening is that I need to be more prayerful, both as a pastor as well as a parent, for my own daughter and the youth of our church and community. It's sobering to hear what they face. And they don't need cliches; they need to know they have someone they can fall back on to help them walk through the challenges of following Jesus. I resolve to do a better job in this area.