We have all seen them. Late at night while we are channel surfing, we come across a commercial that begins in black and white. There’s always someone struggling way, way too hard with a not so difficult task. They are usually dressed down, their hair is messed up, they are wiping their brow, their face is full of frustration and it usually ends with them throwing their hands in the air and/or shrugging their shoulders. Then all of a sudden, the magical chimes sound, the screen swirls into color, and presto! The same individual is dressed sharp, hair looking like they just stepped out of the salon, big smile on their face, all their problems have vanished the instant this miracle product appears. Cheesy? Yes. But if we were honest, we have all been taken in at one time or another. Even if we don’t call to order anything, we will spend 30 minutes of our life that we will never get back watching these things called infomercials. And, if the hour gets late enough and the moon is just right, you will find yourself thinking, “ya, know, I don’t have one knife in my kitchen that will cut through the leather sole of a shoe!” Do we really think that these people on the commercial actually use these products? No, they are actors, paid to convince us that there is no way we can go on with our lives without buying “the next great thing.”
Sadly, all too often I think we as Student Ministers are guilty of trying to “sell Jesus.” We all want to come up with the perfect “gimmick” that will bring our students to that miracle “aha” moment of awakening that will magically transform them into sold-out, on-fire teens for Christ! We are constantly in search of the next best thing that we see other ministers doing and hope it will work for our group. We try to be hip and relevant to a fault in the way we approach teaching students. We act like Jesus is our product and we have to come up with this grand spiritual infomercial in order to convince students to buy Him. You know what students really think after they see through all the gimmicks? They think we are just ministers, paid to convince them to buy into something.
Don’t allow yourself to get to the point in your ministry that you are so driven to convince students that they need to have a personal walk with Jesus, that you neglect your own personal walk. Student Ministries reflect leadership. If you want to see your students commit to daily Bible Study, reignite your passion for studying the scriptures on a daily basis. Do you want to see your students become more engaged in worship? Unashamedly surrender to true worship yourself. Are you wanting to see your students begin praying for their friends and family? Recommit to your own personal prayer life and begin praying for your students by name.
“Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.” – 2 Corinthians 2:17
Don’t get caught up in gimmick student ministry. Preach and teach the Word unapologetically, and live out your faith in front of your group. The greatest thing you can do for your students is to allow them to witness who you are becoming in Christ.