By Jason Sowell
Fact: Teens want to change the world.
They don’t want to just talk about it or simply be told how to do it. They want to do something to change the world. They want to get their hands dirty and make positive, lasting change in a world that’s full of injustice. And they want to be a part of a faith that leads that charge.
Something that strikes me about Christ is that his message was about an action-oriented faith…action that met real needs and was fueled by love. He was always putting action to his teachings and commissioned the disciples to do the same. In fact, we see in the First Century Church where they helped people spiritually, worked together to grow in their faith, and gave what they had to help those in need to lift them up out of their hopelessness.
What I’ve learned in my experience with college students is that’s exactly what they’re looking for from Christianity-faith that’s a movement. And movement requires action much more than it requires words.
Erwin McManus, in his book, The Barbarian Way says…
“The call of Jesus is one that demands action. Jesus began His public ministry with a simple invitation: ‘Come, follow Me.’ His closing instructions to His disciples can be summarized in one word, ‘Go!’…The tribe of Jesus, above all people, should rightly carry the banner, ‘Forward.'”
Here are 3 ideas on creating action in our ministries:
We need to redefine what changing the world looks like for our students. I think students (along with ourselves) get lost in a mentality that changing the world is a job for someone really smart with important degrees on their wall, or just a little bit crazier than the rest of us. Because, let’s face it, changing the world is kind of a big deal. It’s a huge undertaking.
The fact is though, world-changing events happen all the time, but we don’t always recognize them because we’re too busy looking for the “big world-changing events.” We can change the world a little bit everyday, and do it in a minute or less. Here are a few ideas: Being kind vs. being a jerk; ordering fair-trade coffee vs. the alternative; smiling; making an honest deal vs. a shady one; telling the truth; offering an apology; giving to a charity; saying thank you…
The list is pretty much endless.
Changing the world is really about choices. The choices we make don’t just affect us, but a world of people around us. We may not always see their affect, but it happens regardless.
2. Set the example.
Gandhi put it this way, “…Be the change you want to see in the world.” What more can I say? It’s a pretty simple reality that if our students are going to be world-changers, then we have to be world-changers.
3. Provide opportunities.
There are so many ways we can help our students take hope to the hopeless. We just have to be intentional about it…and be committed to it. I think it’s time we start filling our event calendar with tangible opportunities to change the world. Here’s a short list of ideas aside from the obvious mission trips and projects:
• Laundry Love
• Trashcan collections
• Host human trafficking awareness events
• Provide clean water
There are so many creative ways we can help those who can’t help themselves. We just have to move beyond the safe zone we tend to live in. Our world can’t afford for us not to move and neither can our students.
Make change today.
Jason Sowell is the founder of Current, a gathering of college-age young adults who seek to grow in faith and awareness of current affairs and injustice, both domestic and global. engagethecurrent.org
“This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”