My mentor used to say, "Proclaim the Gospel by any means necessary short of anything illegal or immoral."
I agree. In fact, I agree so much that I decided to dedicate my vocational career to the proclamation of the Gospel, and I seek to do it as often as possible! I want to use words, illustrations, actions, smoke signals, anything! I would do just about anything for a person to know the truth of grace and salvation!
But what about the flipside to that coin? Most everyone knows that great quote by Saint Francis of Assisi, "Proclaim the Gospel, proclaim the Gospel, at all times proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and if necessary, use words."
MAY THE SPIRIT GUIDE US TO SEE THE HUMANITY IN EVERY KID AND THE SALVATION THAT AWAITS THEM.
As much as I may want someone to follow Jesus, what do I want that person to know about how much I value her or him? What would I want that person to know about the love of Christ before I ever spoke a single word? I would want that person to know this:
God created you.
I identify with you.
I hurt where you hurt.
I hear you.
I want to understand you.
I affirm you.
I like you.
I will not change you, but I believe the Holy Spirit can.
I value you without any conditions.
I do not know everything.
I want to learn about you.
I am sorry for the ways in which I offend you.
Though you may not care about me, I do care about you.
Though you may not want to know me, I want know you.
I will pursue you.
I will initiate.
I do not fear embarrassment, for my identity is founded in Christ.
I want to challenge you to grow.
I want to encourage you to do it!
I want to know your name and birthdate.
I want to show up at the important events in your life.
I am listening.
I want to follow-up with you and your concerns from your previous conversations.
I will go against the flow by not joining the majority of sarcasm or ridicule.
I will adapt to your needs.
I want to serve others who need help.
I am consistent.
I remember feeling lost without Jesus.
I appreciate you.
I still value you, even if you say no to Jesus.
I pray for you.
To bear a true and faithful witness to the reality of Christ in the lives of both teenagers or adults, one must speak truth in love. One must see the other in the way that God sees that person, as created in his very imagine - and one for whom Jesus offered his life on the cross!
A friend of mine recently posted this statement: "What if we saw everyone as if they are in the middle of a redemption story? The world would change." - Stephanie Drury
For doing so just might change everything, including the way we 'do ministry.'
My deepest hope and desire for my ventures into contact work would be that I remember these statements before and after every conversation, concert, theater production, sporting event, program, retreat, camp, and mission trip.
May the Spirit guide us to see the humanity in every kid and the salvation that awaits them.
QUESTION: What would you want a student to know about the love of Christ for them before you ever spoke a single word?