commitment...

I remember that when I became a believer, I prayed a prayer. I asked God to forgive me for my sins. I asked Him to rule my life with as much of Him as He can. I asked Jesus to be Lord of my life. I was crying. I was in a room that was dark, with a cross at the center of a room. It was the perfect atmosphere for me to emotionally pray the prayer of forgiveness. I often wondered, even after this LIFE ALTERING CONVERSION, "Am I REALLY saved?"

So many times, I see people on twitter or facebook claim that they led students to Christ, or that at a certain event, over 100+ people, EVEN 1000+ PEOPLE turned their lives over to Christ. How did they do it? How did they make this choice?

In youth ministry, we can manipulate words and make scenes become more real and emotional to the heart to help people jump over the proverbial cliff and pray that prayer. I'll be honest with you...I am not sure the prayer is enough.

To be a Christian, one must be defined as a CHRIST FOLLOWER. Is praying a simple prayer, telling others they no longer have to worry about hell in their life of eternity, ENOUGH to make disciples? So often we can focus on leading students or a student to Christ by praying this prayer. I have done it on several occasions, but if I look back at my own life...my story does NOT lead that of a Christ Follower. Mine is the life of a man who does not have a handle on reality all the time, who fails constantly, who lets sin creep in, feels bad about it and prays for forgiveness, and then moves on like my slate is wiped clean. My life would not reflect that of a Christ Follower.

We can help students become believers, but are we setting them up for the journey that will ultimately change their life to die to their own life and live the life that Jesus has written out for them? Prayer is one part of the walk. Pastors and student leaders alike will tell you that even though we prayed a prayer, that is not the end....then that is the end. Where is the follow up? Where do they get the neccesary growth and attention details they need to become the best Christ follower that Christ beautifully and wonderfully made THEM to be?

Youth ministers, quit worrying about the prayer. Focus on the follow. We are called to FOLLOW Jesus not lead Jesus. I am not a leader. I never will be. I am intrusted to help students become believers and followers of Christ at my church. I am the director of the youth ministry. I still allow sin to creep in. I don't follow Jesus...except maybe on twitter. I have the Christian clothes, music, tags, and bumper stickers. I exude what an American Christian should be. I don't exude what Christ is and who He created me to be.

I battle many demons in my life. I think we all have those hidden secrets. Me...I have lots. I even tried to hide them from Jesus. Like I don't want Him to know. I sometimes altar information when praying, like He can't read my heart. How stupid of ME!

Youth workers, focus on the follow. Focus on Christ and not the number of students you helped lead to Christ. I believe the prayer is important because it brings to light the dark areas of their life....but it is NOT the end. That prayer did not make me a Christ follower. Me, finally accepting the beautiful creation that Christ created me to be, is when I became a Christ follower. That's when reality set in.

Focus on the follow.

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