I can’t force someone to Christ. I’ve been in ministry for over 10 years now, but I’ve never seen anyone forced into giving themselves to the mission of Jesus. I’ve seen kids convinced to be baptized because they were “old enough”; I’ve seen dads coerced to baptism and church attendance to set a good example; but I have never seen anyone truly give themselves to Jesus to be transformed for any other reason but that He called and they answered.
That is why it is so important to me to reveal God to students. He is the only one who can offer the life our world needs. Unfortunately, many of us spend so much time absorbed in our own selves that we stop noticing God. We stop seeing His work all around us. But we want our students to be passionate about revealing God to people who don’t notice Him.
I’ve been reminded through the book of Haggai lately of the importance of this. The people of Jerusalem had forgotten God. His ‘house’ was in ruins while everyone just took care of their own. They stopped noticing that God wanted to be with them, so they settled for just scraping by through life. I think our world is like that today. Most people, even many who fill church seats on Sundays, go through most days without ever giving thought to the Creator who makes every breath possible – so they settle for something that is less than real living. I want to change that. I want to live my life in a way that leads people to think about God – to notice Him working. I want to challenge our students to do the same.
The reason this is so important to me is simple: God is what we need. I could cajole students into jumping through the religious hoops for a while. I could coax them into the baptistry and bribe them into Sunday School. But I cannot transform them. Only God can shape our lives to be what he intended.