You are the Difference
by Pastor Chris Lodriguss
World Prayer Tabernacle, Louisiana
Youth pastors, although all your students are home from school, COVID-19 has not been like a summer break for them. It’s been hard. It’s a different kind of hard than what you and I maybe have experienced; but for them, it’s still been hard. They are all processing this season, and most of them are having to battle through it.
They don’t have their normal outlets. They don’t have the things that typically define them, like sports or honor roll. They have social media to look at, where they get to compare themselves to others all day long, seeing only the highs of their peers, but hardly the lows.
Their home life has been turned upside down. Some already had a hard home life, and this has just magnified things. Even for those who have incredible, godly, stable parents, there is extra stress in the house. Everyone feels it. Everyone knows it’s there. Many don’t know how to cope with it.
In Scripture, we see the story of “blind Bartimaeus.” His name was Bartimaeus. His condition was that he was blind. He isn’t called “Smart Bartimaeus” or “Victorious Bartimaeus.” His name means son of honor, but no one knows him as that. Society labeled him by his situation.
Your students are struggling with being labeled by their current situation. The enemy is in their ear, telling them that instead of being labeled as the “sports guy,” they are now labeled by their struggles.
Your students are crying out. It might not look like crying out in the traditional sense, but they are crying out. In Mark 10:48, many warned Bartimaeus to be quiet. How many times have these students been told (verbally or nonverbally) to be quiet? BUT you can give them the space to hear them cry and point them to Jesus!
YOU are the difference in many kids’ lives right now. Be intentional about deepening the relationships with your students. Go beyond just checking in with them. You might have to think outside the box. Not every teenager wants to talk on the phone. One youth leader had a 45min conversation with one of her students via text. They might talk more if you meet them for ice cream. Or maybe ask if you can pick them up to go run errands with you (assuming social distancing isn’t an issue) so you can chat casually as you drive around.
The closest some of these students will get to Jesus right now is by the Jesus in you. In Mark 10, we see Jesus going to where Bartimaeus was. He didn’t just check on him. And Jesus didn’t stop there. He met Bartimaeus’ need. His need was obvious, and that might not be the case with your students. Pray. Ask God to reveal who is really hurting and the best way to reach them. (Once you start meeting in person again, don’t stop intentionally pursuing them. They still need you.)
Remember: YOU are the difference in their lives!