I left our church’s youth group meeting with my heart heavy and my soul feeling burdened. I rarely leave feeling anything but joy and contentment. I find our meetings are usually filled with laughter, bonding, and a mutual excitement for Jesus.
But this night was different.
My original lesson for the evening centered on sharing faith in real, tangible ways. We talked about how important loving others is, how growing up and walking in faith is hard, and how Jesus wrecks us in the best ways possible. The girls had great, albeit it difficult, questions for me surrounding these things. I could tell their hearts were burdened with some of the issues they are dealing with at their age and my own heart grew a little weary.
For them. For their friends. For their classmates and peers. For my own daughters who will grow up in a different world than I did.
We wrapped up for the evening, said our goodbyes, and turned off the classroom light. I watched them walk down the hallway to wait outside for their rides to pick them up. I took the hand of my little girl who had been learning about Jesus in her own mission group and we walked to our car. I thought about them and I thought about her and I thought,
This is the reason.
This is the reason we have to keep going as leaders.
As mentors. As mothers. As followers of Christ.
The upcoming generations need us to press on.
To teach. To love. To help them grow.
I think the reason my heart was so heavily burdened was that it was a strong reminder that there is much work to be done for the next generation. It broke my heart to think of all the things that surround them every day, all the things fighting for their attention.
Family, friends, social media, church, school, sports. Not all of it bad by any means, but not all of it good, either.
Somewhere in all of that pressure, this generation has to figure out who they are and what they stand for. It’s such a precious time of growth for them, and they need a safe place to turn when they’re unsure or when they make mistakes. They also need a place to celebrate the victories.
Leaders, this is where you come in.
The upcoming generation needs strong, biblical leaders to stand up for them.
To pray fervently over them.
To speak truth to them based on the foundation of God’s holy word.
To love them and accept them and show them that grace and mercy are not baseless gifts but ones bought at the high price of Jesus’ blood.
I know you might be weary. I know things might seem out of sorts or even out of control in your own life and you wonder what difference you could possibly make. I know that sometimes it can be challenging to reach others, even if you’re doing it for the sake of the Gospel.
I know that while not every day is hard, there are moments when the feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness get the best of you and you want to give up.
Leading in any capacity is hard.
Whether it’s small groups, Bible studies, mentor work, writing, or leading in your household, there are times when it really takes its toll. I have been there. I’ve walked through seasons of questions and doubts. Of wondering where I fit into the puzzle and where I was meant to go next. I’ve wondered what difference I could possibly make in the lives of those coming behind me. But I am telling you, they need us.
They need us and we need them.
They need us to lead by example and to teach.
We need them to bravely be a light for the darkness that surrounds their generation.
If you find yourself feeling defeated lately, I want to encourage you to press on. Please don’t stop. This upcoming generation is special and unique and God will call them all to a purpose for His Kingdom work.
But we must lay the groundwork. We must root them in the Word. We must uphold the very things we are teaching them in our own lives.
They have to see us go before them so they know what is ahead.
They have to know it’s hard. They have to know it takes bravery to really love others, to put feet and hands to Gospel work. And they have to learn that it’s worth it. Because being called to a deeper, more personal relationship with God will take us places we never thought possible. The best part?
You don’t need to be perfect, just present.
Keep leading. Keep mentoring. Keep reaching your hands and hearts out to the upcoming generation.
Press on, leader. Press on.
“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
Leaders, we want to bless you and equip you.
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