Are the students in your church the example that you yearn to see the younger and older generation follow? Are they the ones who set a high bar in terms of faithfulness, love of God and obedience to His amazing way? Do you expect to see that? Do you believe that’s possible?
"Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." (1 Tim 4:12)
Excitingly, it is increasingly common to see the first part of this text in churches in our nation – churches who don’t look down on the young but rather encourage them, spur them on and give them opportunities to step up and lead. Awesome.
Do we believe, though, that students can not just be gifted in terms of leading worship or leading kids work, but could also be the ones who set the bar high for holy lifestyles?
When freshers arrive at university they often have little idea of what it means to be independent adult Christians – members of the body of Christ in their own right. They are also being challenged by a whole new cultural atmosphere and many feel weak and unable to stand up under the weight of their new context. We are not unequipped to stand with them and see them not just survive, but thrive. Let’s speak to them the same message that Paul wrote to Timothy - don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
Let’s teach them the power of a holy lifestyle, and have faith in them that they can commit themselves to that, that they could even set the benchmark which others are inspired by. As they live out lives that lead to Jesus amongst their friends, making decisions to excel in love, in grace, and in passionate obedience, let’s have faith in their potential to be the people we want to learn from! Let’s be saying to them ‘come on, set an example for us, the older guys. You have the Spirit within you teaching you courage, self control, love and faithfulness. With commitment to the cause, we believe that you can live these amazing God-inspired lives, that you can live in a way that challenges us and which astonishes your mates. Wow us with your humility, your encouragement of others, your grace, your extravagant love and your trust in God’s strength and power. Let your lifestyle be both a challenge and an increaser of faith for others’.
As we receive students this coming Autumn, we have the chance to encourage and to challenge them to go for all God has for them.
Will you support and invest in the freshers who arrive in your city in 5 months time? Will you believe that they could rise above the temptation to become morally dubious young prodigals and prevail as great inspirations in terms of holy living? Will you commit yourself to helping your students get to that place, whether that’s through mentoring a student or praying for those who are part of your church. If you do, I do believe we could see the raising up of young people who set an example for the rest of us in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Wouldn’t that be a great thing to be part of?