The beautiful butterflies we serve as youth workers

Our students are beautiful flowers!

One of my most favorite things is getting the opportunity to spend time with our students in smaller settings that are more conversational.  Every time I leave my conversation with these young people, I am struck with how totally different their world view is from mine.  

As an older person, as an older Christian person, as an older Christian person who has some Calvinistic and GenX baggage, I see myself through a broken, sinful, and degenerate lens.  And it is only through the grace of Jesus that He has died for my sins, rose in power to redeem, heal and empower me, so that in Him, I may actually become a masterpiece made for good works.  Amen!

I am both jealous and horrified by our students who are at the end of this equation.  They are masterpieces, period.  

Our students see themselves as beautiful butterflies, magnificent sculptures, and deserved to be treated as such.  Their very existence deserves primacy in all things, and they are so offended when their specialness bumps up against someone else's specialness.   

All of the pain in their life is filtered through two lenses.  

1)  Self Inflicted wounds that have come about by dumb decisions, risky behavior, etc are merely scars that add to their unique beauty.  NO REGRETS!  (Seriously, ask your kids if they regret any choices they have made)  

2)  They have been wronged by others and are crushed by others and so they close the emotional vault on people and self-righteously judge them and shun the offending parties.  

This makes communicating the gospel with them really challenging since our starting point in the gospel is our own sinfulness, brokenness, and rebellion.  Good luck with that!  While this may be true, this language is actually offensive to them and their sensibilities.  How dare you question their unique beauty.  

The problem they do face is that if every single person in their world is uniquely beautiful and deserving of special attention, then they actually find themselves isolated and alone.  And this is where the Gospel comes in.  For in Jesus they are invited to be adopted into the family of God and their unique beauty does get to be affirmed.  But they have to be willing to submit to the authority, power and protection of our Heavenly Father.  It is only then that they can fully experience both the glorious rights that come from being co-heirs with Christ, as well as the high responsibilities of being children of the King and representatives of His Kingdom  

If you want to serve your students well, meet them where they are!

Quit fighting their world view.  Quit cramming your old school versijon of the gospel down their throats.  Instead of trying to convince them of their sinfulness and wretchedness:

  • Embrace their beauty.  
  • Be fascinated by them.
  • Be their champions and partners.
  • Be broken hearted for the wrongs they have suffered.
  • Be gentle reflectors to the wrongs they may have inflicted on others.
  • Invite them to embrace their beauty and allow God to truly make them whole and beautiful. 
  • Love them generously.

Our students are beautiful butterflies, sort of.  But, unfortunately, they have no idea that they are actually simple, crushed, and deformed moths.  Their blind eyes and lack of reflection are debilitating them.  And it is our job as adults to come in from the outside, embrace them, speak their language, share in their sufferings, and invite them into a family where they will truly become masterpieces!

Good Luck Homies!