What was the last invitation you received? Recently we sent invitations to our son’s first birthday party. It’s interesting how hard it was to get anyone to actually commit to coming. We live in an age when invitations are all over the place. We get invited to participate in surveys, join causes, attend events, give fundraisers, and throw parties. It makes it hard to know which invitations to accept. We worry about accepting too early, lest we miss out on something better (FOMO). Our time is divided and the same is true for our students. Ultimately, the invitations I accept are the ones coming from people that matter to me. It’s less about the event and more about the relationship.
In ministry it can feel like all we do is invite students to things.
  • “Come hang out with me.”
  • “Sign up for camp today.”
  • “Are you coming to youth group tonight?”
  • “Can you come help me clean my house?” (I can’t be the only one)

What if we stopped inviting teens to events and started inviting them to a person? In our church’s student ministry our goal is to invite teens to walk with Jesus daily. We’re not inviting them to a program, but to a relationship with the living God.

John 10:26-30 gives us a picture of what the process of walking with Jesus looks like…

“But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me,  for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
In this passage Jesus says his sheep will believe him (which is more like an active faith instead of intellectual acknowledgement). How does that active faith come about?
  1. Listening to Jesus – Jesus makes it clear that his sheep listen to him. We are inviting students to listen to the voice of God through prayer, Scripture, and looking for signs of his work.
  2. Knowing Jesus – After we learn to listen to Jesus he becomes familiar to us. We can discern his voice from others. We have ongoing relationship with him. We move from knowing about him to actually knowing him.
  3. Following Jesus – Students to listen to Jesus and learn to know him will naturally follow him. Where he goes he goes they will go because they will WANT to be with him.
And what is the result? As a teenager develops a habit of walking with Jesus they will experience life and security.
So the next time you’re spending time with one of your students don’t invite them an event, invite them to walk with Jesus daily.
Would you stop right now and pray that God would give you the great privilege of inviting a teen to walk with Jesus this week?