They are surrounded by the most exciting opportunity that anyone could ever know, and yet many of them take it for granted. Young people who grow up in church sit through countless biblical teachings and attend all sorts of church camps and conferences. They sing dangerous songs about knowing God personally, drawing near to his heart and being used as his hands and feet. Yet many of them sing as though this were a spiritual hobby instead of a holy passion.
Consider Beth and Bryce, siblings whose approaches to God were vastly different. Beth was on fire for God. Her zeal was evident in our youth meetings and at our events. She wanted to know God intimately and personally, and she realized that the time she spent investing in her spiritual life was not a duty but an opportunity.
Bryce, on the other hand, was moral but apathetic. He was faithful in attendance but not aggressive in his personal pursuit of God. He did not see the value in studying the Bible, praying to God or building a healthy quiet time.
Beth and Bryce heard the same messages, attended the same camps, sang the same songs and were raised the same way. Both were good kids, but one had a strong and growing faith, while the other had a stagnant faith. One was bold with her beliefs, while the other was intimidated to share with others what he knew to be true. One was building a love relationship with her Creator, while the other was laying the groundwork for a frustrated faith and a fruitless spiritual life.
Many years have passed since Beth and Bryce were in my care, but the patterns they established back then set the course for their spiritual journeys. In many ways those patterns have contributed to who they are even now as adults. Beth is active in church, walking with God. Although Bryce considers himself a Christian, he no longer attends church, and his faith is something that he never thinks about. Apathy still dominates his life.
In more than fifteen years of youth ministry I have worked with, observed and cared for thousands of students. Although their stories vary, they typically resemble either Bryce or Beth in the ways that they approach God. Their spiritual life can be defined either by the hunger that drives them into Godís presence on a regular basis or by apathy that inspires neglect. Every area of their life will be affected by Christ if they thirst for him and spend time with him. But if apathy has grabbed hold of their life, then their spiritual progress will be limited at best.
Within the pages of this book you will discover tools for igniting a passion for Christ in your students. As you read, you will uncover apathyís games and boredomís effects. You will learn how to discern and effectively address the problems youth have in their spiritual life. You will discover helps but also hope. You will be inspired in your own relationship with Christ even as you become focused for the task of leading the students in your life.
God will not confront our studentsí apathy without helping them change, and we may be Godís hands and feet in the process of their transformation. With Godís help, we will see our youth transformed from bored students to aggressive, on-fire Christians with a deep connection to their Father and an effective approach to life.