We live in one of the most sharing cultures the world has even known. Through the internet’s expansive reach people share about themselves, their kids, their friends, their hobbies, their emotions, their hopes, their dreams, their grief stricken challenges and even item’s on their bucket list (I saw one person post the picture you see above for a resort in Finland with glass igloos so tourists can watch the Northern Lights). We are incredible at sharing information as long as it is related to “ME”. Unfortunately, we are not as gifted at sharing what is most important.
Our “Selfie Stuck” culture has reached new limits of sharing personal information in an impersonal way. We are challenged when it comes to sharing matters of substance to truly meet other people’s needs. Most items one sees on Facebook, reads on Twitter or views on Instagram have not been posted for your personal edification. It is the rare post that is truly shared for you. Most often, social media allows people a window to see into the life of the person who posted.
Dangerously this carries into face-to-face interaction. People must be cautious to monitor how significant time invested with social media reprograms the brain. Christians are charged with the important task of “CARING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK”, what people think about them, what people think about their actions and attitudes, and what people think happens after they die. So as Social Media has many fantastic benefits; it can also lull people into complacency. Be careful not to watch for the latest post on what people are doing, watching, or saying without moving any deeper toward helping people process life’s most important questions.
Philemon 6 reads, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” We need to have as much concern to share our faith as we do to tell the world on social media our child has just made the honor roll at Podunk Middle School in Jabip, Kansas. Do you believe our culture is Selfie Stuck? If you answer “Yes”, consider sharing the only information that helps Selfie Stuck people; information from the one who says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Share about Christ, His life, His death and His desire for all people to know Him. Share about Him with a broken world focused on sharing self but needing a Savior.
(Part Four of the series relating to the Christian Endeavor practices- Pray, Study, Serve, Share, Worship.)
Recently I wrote about Prayer (Part 1) and Study (Part 2), two critical practices of the Christian life and Youth Discipleship. Chewbacca provides a model for the third practice, Serve. You may wonder how an overgrown fur ball who doubles as a warrior and Mr. Fix-it demonstrates this. For those of you disconnected from the Star Wars cultural saga and the release of the epic journey’s 7th installment December 2015, Chewbacca is a Wookiee and Han Solo’s best friend. Han happens to be the character who demonstrates everything in attitude that Christians hope to avoid except for courage and leadership. Han is self-seeking, greedy, rude and manipulative. Chewbacca, on the other hand, models loyalty, hard work, compassion (though he does have a nasty temper) and service.
How could any creature serve alongside an ego like Han Solo? How are we supposed to serve alongside imperfect people who consistently fall short? How can anyone serve alongside us? How are we supposed to be part of churches that constantly show their faults? And Why is it worth it? It is worth it to us because we know the story’s ending! Many people would like to read ahead and know how the upcoming Star Wars movie ends. We have that advantage. We are told several places in the Bible that Jesus is returning. When He returns, He is coming for His church . . . and His church will appear to Him like a spotless bride or one beautifully dressed (Revelations 21:2). Incredible how what appears significantly flawed to us will one day be accepted with a vision of perfection.
God sees immeasurable value and worth in the church. Yes, it has flaws, but it is the vehicle God chose to take the saving message of Jesus Christ to a broken world. Church youth ministry allows young people to grow into understanding how God sees them by allowing them to exercise service in the student ministry, church and beyond. It starts with the youth ministry (or even the children’s ministry if the church is bold enough). Find the students willing to make a commitment pledge then gradually begin turning over the keys. Allow them to learn how the student ministry works. Before long, with proper coaching, they can be running the show. They will be learning skills they can use in ministry for their lifetime while having their attitude shaped for Service. Imagine if Chewbacca sat and never did anything valuable with his talents. I’m not sure how the next movie will go, but look for Chewbacca. See if his servant’s attitude can still be seen on the Big Screen.
(Part Three of the series relating to the Christian Endeavor practices- Pray, Study, Serve, Share, Worship.)