The Truth of Who God Is

truth_websiteI believe the basis of our Christian faith relies on two questions… “Who is God” and “What is truth?”  Yes, our faith is based on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ – believing that He died and rose again for our sins – but until we can answer these two questions from a Biblical perspective, it is impossible for us to experience an authentic relationship with Christ.  God and truth have become relative in today’s society.  In other words, we have created our own gods and designed our own truth.

About a year ago I surveyed a group of high school students in preparation for a series we were doing.  I found that our lack of understanding of who God is and what is truly true has tainted our view of Christianity itself.  Today’s younger generations use words like awesome, amazing, and big to describe God.  Is that seriously all God is to us?

We have not completely thrown out words like holy, just, gracious, and sovereign to describe God, but much of Christianity today does not fully understand God’s true character.  We do not spend time with Him, so we do not know who He truly is.  Today’s teens spend hours upon hours playing video games, stalking friends on Facebook, watching YouTube videos, and playing sports, yet they lack the desire or passion to get to know who God truly is.

A true understanding of an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ must begin with a grasp of who God is!  Anyone of us can say we “know” someone.  But do we really know them?  Could we call them up and be like… “Hey bro…let’s go to the movies.”  Name a professional baseball player and I could tell you who they play for and what position they play (I dare you to test me on that one.)  But I cannot think of one baseball player that I know well enough to invite over to my house for dinner.  For many of us, it is the exact same scenario when it comes to knowing God.  We think we know Him, but reality is we only know something about Him that we heard in Sunday School or on TV.

Do you really know God?  Can you describe and explain how you have experienced His holiness?  Do you comprehend and grasp the vastness of His unconditional love?  Do you fear and stand in awe of His power and majesty?  Do you trust in His sovereignty?  Finally, can you call God up and be like… “Hey God…thanks for being my Father, my Comforter, my Helper, my Friend, and my Savior!”

This leads to the second question… What is truth?  Our society has absolutely destroyed the definition of truth!  Public Education provides the view that everybody can have his or her own view on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Our teenagers are flooded with views of coexisting, scientology, and evolution.  They are encouraged to come up with their own views on how life begin and their purpose for living each day.  Today’s family is destroying the sanctity of life and annihilating God’s purpose of marriage…ultimately attempting to defeat truth.  There is a famous question that stands like an elephant in the room of our schools, families, and even student ministries… “Is truth relative?”

Our overwhelming response must be… “NO!!!”  We all know the words of Jesus in which He says, “I am the way, THE TRUTH, and the life…” He does not say I am A truth, instead Jesus says, “I am THE truth!”  One of the overwhelming responses within the survey I did with high school students was that truth is simply “not lying.”  I believe truth goes way beyond not telling a lie.  It is living a life of Biblical integrity and Christlike character.  It is living out our authentic relationship with Jesus Christ on a daily basis.  We must not avoid the truth God has placed before us in His Word.  As much as we would like it to be, truth is not relative.  Truth is not about accepting the lies of the world as other people’s truths.  Instead, it is about sharing the story of who God is with the world.  The one aspect we must not leave out though is love!  We must display humility, love, compassion, and forgiveness while sharing truth with those we come in contact with!

My prayer is that I never lose sight of who God truly is and what is truly true and really real!  As Autumn and I continue living out exactly what God has for us, my prayer is that our kiddos see the truth of who God is shining in and through our every word and action.  God has given me the responsibility and opportunity to share truth with students every day!  I pray we begin seeing a generation that not only understands who God is on a personal level, but are also not afraid to stand for the truth of His Word!

What are you doing to instill the truth of God’s Word and a relationship with Him into your daily life and into your ministry?

The Holy Spirit & Student Ministry


We are a culture that desires to live on our own schedule, do our own thing, however we want it done. We are a very “meistic” society. Everything is about “me, myself, and I.”

Unfortunately we have carried that into the church as a whole as well. Today’s church has become full of individuals that want everything done his or her own way. We want to sing our favorite songs, have our favorite colored carpet/tile, we want to have a preacher our age, we do not want to associate with anybody not of our likes or characteristics, and we DEFINITELY don’t want to associate with any other denominations. Almost everything is built around how we can be satisfied NOW…even within the church.

It is sad to say that this is even true within Student Ministry. In many churches, Student Ministry is almost a separate entity unto itself. They have their own building, their own furniture, their own evening to meet, their own worship team, and very seldom do you see a youth program that mingles with other generations. As youth leaders, we also find ourselves singing our desired music, teaching our desired topics, painting the walls how we want them to be painted, setting the lights how we want, playing the games we want, and going to the camps and retreats that are suitable for us. I understand that these are very important aspects of a Student Ministry, but how much time are we truly seeking the Holy Spirit before we make decisions?

Also, whatever happened to a youth program being a “vital” part of a church, not a “separate” program of a church? Too often I hear everything about a church, and then they talk about the youth program, or I hear all about the youth program but nothing about the rest of the church. Our conversations should include both the church and student ministry in the same context!

I believe it comes down to one thing…we have lost sight of the Holy Spirit. You may ask, “What does the Holy Spirit have to do with our talk of the church or what color the carpet is?” It is simple…we box ourselves in to the extent we only focus on what we want, not on what the Holy Spirit wants. Therefore, we only talk about and look for our own personal desires. I am not saying this as a Student Ministries Pastor, but as a member of the body of Christ. Yes, I may be bias towards Student Ministry, but God has called me to an even greater mission field, and that is to show His love to everyone I come in contact with, not just students.

So, how can we integrate the Holy Spirit into every aspect of our lives, including the ministry God has called us to? We must first train our students on who the Holy Spirit is and what He can do for us. Francis Chan’s book, Forgotten God talks about reversing our tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit. I believe our youth cannot comprehend who the Holy Spirit is, and therefore do not utilize His power. We want to do everything on our own, instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to use us for God’s honor and glory. We box ourselves into a room, or a group, or a denomination and do not experience the true power of the Holy Spirit. As youth leaders, we must also disciple our students on how to use the gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit. Now I am not going to go all Pentecostal (sorry…please don’t take that personally) here, but too often we try to make it through life on our own abilities. We miss the gifts, talents, and abilities given to us through the Holy Spirit. God has given us everything we need to be “more than victorious” in life, but we must be willing to grasp ahold of it and use it. It is the Holy Spirit that leads us to truth, holds us accountable, comforts us, and convicts us of sin. We must be aware of what He can do and utilize what He has given us.

What does this have to do with Student Ministry and the church? If we were truly aware of who the Holy Spirit was we would understand that life and ministry is not about us. It is not about our desires. It is not about our comfort zones. It is truly about bringing honor and glory to God. Student Ministry can be utilized even greater if we put aside our selfish desires, seek God’s face, and desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Imagine how many teenage souls we would see come to Christ if our students understood the power and impact they could have through the Holy Spirit!!! Ultimately, imagine how great and prosperous the body of Christ would be if we completely relied on the power of the Holy Spirit!

Attractive Christ Centered Student Ministry

I remember the first time I laid eyes on my wife…  It was exactly 11 years ago tomorrow, at a student ministry New Year’s Eve party.  There she was – blonde hair, blue eyes, bubbly personality, athletic, and a great family!  At least for me, there was an instant attraction that made me want to come back for more!  Now to be totally honest, she would tell you a completely different story.  She saw a cocky college kid who had a weird eye.  While there was not much of an attractional appeal on her end, she was nice enough to at least give me the time of day.

After I moved from Michigan to Florida, I made my first big move and asked Autumn out on a date. Again, she didn’t see it as a date, but a friendly dinner and game of putt-putt golf.  We spent several hours that evening talking about life, family, movies, sports, and more!  She became more and more attractive every time we got together, and yes, she even began falling for me lol!

Although my wife is the hottest woman on the planet, the friendship I have with her is far more attractive than the blonde hair or blue eyes.  The relationship we have may not always be perfect, but I know she is there for me at all times – no matter how good I am at something or how many times I fail.  She is there to love me, pray for me, pick me up, and kick me in the butt when necessary.  Now that is attractive!

“The Google” defines attractive as ‘pleasing or appealing to the senses…’  Too often I believe churches look at student ministry as an avenue of appealing devices, lights, sounds, food, and more!  In other words… if we have the loudest, rockiest band, the biggest light show, the craziest leaders, the best coffee and pizza, the wildest games and events, and the most emotionally attractive message we will draw hundreds, if not thousands of students to our location!  While that may be true, what is it actually accomplishing?  What are we truly drawing those students to? Are we just filling seats with crazy middle and high school students, or are truly seeing lives impacted for the cause of Christ?  What type of life journey are we taking those students on?  Is Christ at the center of everything we do and say, or is he sitting in the back row watching from a distance?

Now please hear me out for a minute… I believe in attractional ministry.  I love loud worship, crazy light shows, insanely wild leaders, and yes… we even serve coffee and pizza every Wednesday night!  But our focus is on sharing Christ through intentional conversations, relationships, message, and worship.  I am not nearly concerned as much with our worship set or service structure as I am with the amount of time and energy our leaders are pouring into their own personal relationships with Christ.  I am more concerned about how much time our small group leaders and speakers are spending in prayer and spiritual preparation than I am about whether or not they follow the exact list of questions given to them ahead of time.  

As leaders, we must rely on the direction of the Holy Spirit – within every individual conversation and overall service.  Our students must experience the love and compassion of Christ, while being challenged with the truths of God’s Word and what it means to have a relationship with Him.  Music will impact people, but it alone cannot eternally change lives.  Food will draw students, especially if it is free, but it will most likely not be the turning point in somebody accepting Christ as their personal Savior.  The moment the crazy, insane middle school leader gets a student to eat a blended McDonald’s Happy Meal will most likely not be the turning point that causes somebody to see their need for a Savior.

While creating a program or service that is culturally attractive for our students, we must never miss our purpose in carrying out the ministry God has called us to…creating a space for students to experience Jesus Christ!  Just like it is the relationship I have with my wife that makes her most attractive, it must be the relationship one can have with Jesus Christ that makes our ministries so attractive!  My prayer is that we have students returning each and every week because of their desire to become more like Christ.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself and your leadership team in regards to an Attractive Christ Centered Student Ministry…

  • What are the main reasons students attend your student ministry?
  • Have you defined and communicated the vision to your entire leadership team?
  • How much time do you and your leadership teams spend in prayer before every service or event?
  • What are you doing to encourage and help hold accountable the spiritual growth of your leaders?
  • Is there more time spent on the logistics of the service than on intentional relationships amongst students and leaders?
  • Do you and your leaders display the same amount of intentionality and passion during the message and small groups as they do during game time and worship?
  • Do you spend more time researching the latest craziest games or on studying how to clearly teach the truth and love of God’s Word to students?