Mark was an enthusiastic, servant-hearted teen. He loved the social buzz of team life and the hive of activity we formed together. However, out on the streets of Glasgow, something got under his skin.
Mark observed some of the team’s 11 and 12 year olds sharing simply about Jesus with people they met. A few of them got to lead folks to the Lord, with the mentoring of adults they were ministering alongside.
Mark was deeply challenged. He realized he was hungry for God to use him in the same way. So, with trepidation, he joined the evangelism small team and asked the Lord to let him lead one person to Jesus.
In the days that followed we saw Mark go from engaged to engulfed – he caught fire. He came back from the streets daily with stories of what the Lord was doing, shared with an increasing zeal for more. His prayers became filled with passion and he worshipped with abandon. Mark saw not one but ten people commit their lives to Jesus and he was beside himself that God could use him in that way.
One of the things I love about helping young people put their faith into action is the way it seems to flick a switch in their walk with God. A young person may have received rich teaching, had awesome encounters with God and know their Bible backwards, but somehow, they might often be a little bit… comfortable. Undisturbed.
However, the gospel is not safe and “the Comforter comes not to make men comfortable, but to make them missionaries” (Michael Green). Faith without works is dead, but together they form a live circuit. Being a “doer” as well as a hearer of the Word creates a feedback loop in which faith fuels action and action strengthens faith. This is not a formula but a reflection of the fact that faith and the call to action both come from God, and putting them together is obedience to him. He is in the midst of the faith/ action dynamic, empowering his children as they respond to him. The challenge is to remain in that place of dependence, rather than acting out of one’s own strength. Connection to the Father is the accomplishment of the Son and the cry of the Spirit … let us not teach our children to be about his business without him.
Our desire in leading young people into faith-filled action is that they simply learn to hear God’s voice and do what he says. This is not a spiritual muscle building programme, nor a “fix the world quick” scheme… it is a journey into sonship – knowing and responding to the heart of the Father and being ruined for the ordinary by co-working with him.