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“Oh it is just a fad he’s going though!  Give him a little time and he will get over it.” Those were the words I heard one of my friends at school telling another friend shortly after I trusted Christ as my Savior. These were good friends but my new way of thinking had all of us confused.

You see my life radically changed when I said “Yes” to Jesus just like the Apostle Paul describes it in 2 Corinthians 5:17. I had different desires, goals and was excited about my new found faith. As a young and naïve believer I could not understand why everyone was not excited about my decision. I was baffled as to why they did not want to make the same decision to know Jesus that I had made.

I know that the students in our youth ministries face this all the time. They come to our churches, events or camps and make life-changing decisions that we applaud and then go back into a world where they are anything but celebrated. I am grateful for the youth leaders at my church who poured their lives into me. They helped me navigate some difficult waters and build a solid faith foundation.

So how do we help our students establish a 47 year – or should I say life-long – fad?

  • Make sure we start by sharing the message of the Gospel clearly: Jesus died, was buried and rose again from the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:1-3)
  • Realize that, depending on their home situation, your role as a youth leader may be anything from a coach to a surrogate parent.
  • Define that role quickly and make sure that the student is being discipled.
  • Surround them with a support system of peers and adult leaders who encourage their faith walk.
  • Get the student involved in your church’s ministry opportunities where he/she can share their faith and see others come to Christ.
  • Encourage the student to take at least one international short-term missions trip to help expand their world.
  • Never stop encouraging the student about their daily surrender to God’s Will.  

I know that many times we see students make decisions at our youth meetings, churches or camps and we wonder if they “really mean it.” I personally struggle when I hear people talk like that because I believe they all “mean it.” I think that more of them would follow through if we as leaders followed up.  

I know I am glad the people of Ridgecrest Baptist Church did not just sit back and wait for me to fail but decided to invest their lives in me.

By the way, this is on my heart because today, January 17is my 47th spiritual birthday…and this is my 47 year fad I just can’t get over!

* Image created by some of the more creative people with a unique sense of humor!

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