Unusual gifts randomly appear at Christmas time in our home. Our 10 year old, Zach, was given a set of lawn darts. No, they aren’t the original lawn darts that impaled many an innocent picnic by-stander and brought lawsuits upon American toy makers. These lawn darts have safe hard rubber tips and would be hard pressed to impale a small mammal let alone a human being. We tried all kinds of throws in our attempt to combat the wind and land our dart inside the orange circle. Eventually, Zach and I both had success hitting the target.
My time playing with Zach reminds me of youth discipleship in three ways. First, it is important to understand this target. For those of you in youth ministry, it is easy to become distracted and begin aiming at targets that do not have a purpose. Discipleship is the goal God calls us to in Matthew 28:19-20. This is more important than building the biggest group and conducting the most impressive community service project. Parents and Guardians, this is our goal as we raise our kids. Sure it would be great if our children go pro in whatever hobby they enjoy. But at the end of the day, we need to ask if we’ve hit the mark of guiding our children as disciples of Christ.
Second, it will take some risks in order to hit the target. Look at Jesus. He used all kinds of unique teaching methods to get His disciples’ attention. We have started a New Year, what unique methods can you use to grow teens in your church closer to Jesus? Consider how teens in your family or extended family can be challenged to grow as a disciple by you doing something unique to capture their attention.
Third, and finally, discipleship happens on the journey. It is both the end goal and the essence of what happens along the way. The time I invested with Zach playing lawn darts was just as important as the goal of hitting the target. As you invest time in teenagers’ lives they will see how you model Christ. Your commitment to Him will open doors for teens to grow closer to God as you steer them in His direction.
May God bless you as you begin 2015. May you Hit the Mark, Take a Risk, and avoid being impaled by any flying objects in the process!