by Carter Brinkley, Minister to Students
“Passing the baton” is one of my favorite analogies. Any responsibilities worth carrying on must be handed off to another person eventually. We all have goals, but who will take them up for us in the years to come?
Today’s students are tomorrow’s teachers. It may sound like inspirational jargon, but it is also sound logic. Here are a few reasons why we should be excited about it:
1.) Students are passionate.
We have to recognize and value the passions and desires of our younger guys and gals. Sometimes we don’t do this because we get so concerned with our own drive that we block theirs out. It's also easy to assume that students will not get excited about anything that cannot be put on a touch screen.
I won’t deny that students can at times be sluggish instead of being driven and motivated. That is our opportunity to encourage them as Scripture does for all of us, “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord” (Romans 12:11). Everyone needs a boost in this area, and teenagers are no exception.
The danger comes when we are content to tell teens not to be slothful while rarely encouraging them to be fervent in spirit or to serve the Lord. We must teach our students the value of their passions in terms of God’s kingdom. If not, when they inevitably find their passions, they may “exchange the truth of God for a lie” and develop “dishonorable passions” (Romans 1:24-26). Students must know, as David did, that their passion is meant to highlight their need for the steadfast love of the Lord:
"As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God." - Psalm 42:1
2.) Students are creative.
I am constantly blown away by the creativity of middle and high school students, but it can be hard to know what to do with it! The creativity of our students can be used for so much more than just having fun with an instrument, sport, or hobby. Creativity plays a major role in our design and God’s will for our lives:
“He has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs." - Exodus 35:31-32
“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them." - Romans 12:6
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace." - 1 Peter 4:10
Creativity is a great gift of grace with world-changing potential. We must all be challenged to apply it as God intended so the world might see the grace of God through us.
3.) Students are capable.
Changing the world is a big responsibility, and we typically desire to hand big responsibilities off to those most experienced. What often goes unrealized is that students are willing and able to take on these tasks if we are willing and able to teach them. If experience is so valuable, why not build some into the next generation? Students will meet the challenge with strength and courage if only we will encourage it.
“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:7
Our world cannot stay the same. Such was the case long before you and me, and will be after we are gone. The next generation will be captivated by whoever is the first to realize their potential and put it to use. For Christ’s sake, I pray that is the Church.
If you are older, who is someone to whom you can pass your baton? If you are younger, how can you to step onto the track and use what God has given you?
By His grace we will reach the finish line, not as mere individuals, but the unified Church.