The Holy Spirit/Empowerer/Discerner
The Holy Spirit has always been the ‘awkward’ member of the trinity. Not sure what exactly to do with Him and trying to figure out how to incorporate the sometimes ‘strange’ outward expressions of His workings into social normalcy, we usually see denominations take one extreme or the other neither of which is really Biblical. Clearly not everyone in the church will have the same gifts given by the spirit (one body many parts) and speaking in tongues publically isn’t very helpful without an interpreter (See 1 Cor 14). On the other hand, to not allow the possibility of such expression should be considered similar to putting our lamp under a basket (See Matthew 5 ).
As Youth Pastors we must develop an understanding of the Holy Spirit in ourselves and students that allow both for the silent inner nudgings and loud outer expressions. In a culture of compromised moral standards, those promptings of the Holy Spirit are so important when facing peer pressure. Our students need to know that as Max Lucado says, “God loves [them] too much for them to stay the same.” Indeed, the Holy Spirit moves them and us closer and closer to the cross. From prompting us in the midst of sin to stop, to prompting us before we sin and to prompting us when sin even enters our minds as a thought, the Holy Spirit is all about progression which is perfect because adolescence is all about the same thing.
As for the loud out expressions, asking students to share the gospel with another student is like asking them to confront a hostile tribe with one of the most hated messages in the world. The gospel of Jesus Christ is hated because it offensive. Billy Graham ”It is offensive because in confronts”. Whereas our culture asks “Who are you to tell me how to live?” The gospel asks, “Who are you living for?”. This is dangerous. Countless missionaries and evangelists have been martyred for asking such a question including the disciples. When two boys went into Columbine High School armed and ready to kill, it has been reported that they asked at least one student if they believed in Jesus Christ and when she responded with ‘yes’ she was killed. Teenage martyrdom is obviously going to be the rare exception. Bullying is far more common. Although rarely mentioned by most anti-bullying programs, I cannot tell you the amount of students I have had to counsel because they were being bullied for living out their faith.
More than ever, we need to be seeking and encouraging our students to seek the Holy Spirit and His source empowerment. There is no guarantee of safety in the Bible. The very fact that Paul tells us God will provide “a way of escape that you will be able to bear it” (1 Cor 10) tells us that trials and tribulations will come. Furthermore, Jesus said that His followers ”you will be hated by everyone because of me” (Matthew 10:22) but there is a promise in that verse too. The latter half tells us ”but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. It is important that we focus on the promises and the Holy Spirit is just that.
;“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. John 14:15-17.
When students or anyone accepts salvation through Jesus, this is the promise given to them. That when they ‘dare 2 share’ they won’t ever have to do it alone.