In their book Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations, Alex and Brett Harris write that “Our current ceiling for students is really much closer to where the floor ought to be” (pg. 36). In other words, we don’t expect a lot out of kids these days. Many parents are pleased with their teen as long as he’s not a murderous-underachieving-drug addict. So what if he sleeps-in, doesn’t search for a job, and can’t stop obsessing over the latest video game–he’s still a good kid right? This type of mentality is so damaging not only to teens but to our society. Growing up I was blessed to be around parents, teachers and ministers that pushed me to get to a higher level. Looking back now, as a 22 year-old minister, I’m so incredibly grateful for their constant pushing. Here are three phrases that every young, Christian man and woman needs to hear.
You Were Meant for More
Culture says “stay in school,” “don’t do drugs,” and “if you have sex, please use protection.” Outside of these things there are no rules. Parents are told to expect little from their children and unfortunately many parents and teens have swallowed this destructive little lie. Though culture doesn’t demand much of you, be aware that Christ certainly does. When you become a follower of Christ you are thrust into a world of work. Yes, there is time to grow, but that growth does not come at the expense of responsibility. Jesus said that those who would come after Him must deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23). There was no age limit on the denial or cross-bearing. The requirement is for all followers. As a Christian teen, understand that Christ expects a lot from you. You were meant for more than lame phrases and low expectations.
You Are the Church of Today
When you become a Christian you immediately become a working, responsible, necessary, piece of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13-27). Christian teens aren’t put on some kind of waiting list to be gradually grafted into the body, but we’ve acted as all these years as if that’s the case and for that I’m sorry. Teens, make no mistake, you are the church of today. You have the ability and responsibility to be a vital piece of Christ’s body right now. Not only are you responsible and capable, but you are absolutely necessary. Teenagers, the church NEEDS you now, at your age, to step up and lead.
You Can Do It
You have at your disposal the ability to change the world. The only thing holding you back from creating a website, leading singing, becoming a writer, mentoring a peer, evangelizing your classmates, becoming a preacher, becoming a teacher, becoming an elder, becoming a Bible student, filming Christ-related videos, and recording devotionals is society’s low expectation of you.
You don’t magically become capable of great things when you get older. It starts now! You have the ability to become a difference maker today. So what are you waiting for? Go change the world. You can do this.
Culture has given you little to no expectations. Shatter them. You have the ability to rise up so much higher than the world expects you to. Your teenage years are not meant to be squandered and wasted away, they are meant for Christ. Don’t believe the lie that you’re meant for great things tomorrow. You are meant for great things today. You are a functioning piece of the body of Christ now.
To any parents reading this, refuse to allow the culture to dictate the brilliance of your son or daughter. Encourage them to dream, to grow, to mature, and to get their hands dirty for Christ our King, but please don’t stop there. Lead the way and be someone that your children (and other Christians) can imitate. Children and teens in the church can become amazing servants of God and leaders in the church, but only if those that are older will step up and raise their expectations of them. Our teens can do this, but they desperately need to hear that from those that have gone ahead.
- Jack David Dodgen, Strongchurch.org