This post was originally posted at YouthMinBlog.com; follow the discussion there or start a new one here.

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Helping students reach out to their peers is something that we approach quite frequently in our student ministry. Quite honestly, if we don’t keep it a forefront issue, it is something that is easily overlooked in the life of a student.

There’s no easy way to say it… no nice way to say it… (WARNING: huge blanket statement here) we are inherently selfish people. Student culture, I would say, even pushes students to selfishness.

Have it YOUR way.

Be YOUR own person.

Do YOUR own thing.

Do what feels right for YOU.

Hmmmmm… compare that two what Jesus boils the gospel message down to in Luke 10:27: loving God and loving OTHERS.

In my life, I’ve found that the more time that I spend developing my relationship with God, the more He shapes my heart to love others. This doesn’t come natural to me, a hyper-melancholy, phlegmatic personality type. I have had to be very intentional in asking God to help me in this area… to “put on my Jesus glasses” and see people the way that Jesus sees them.

So, how to integrate this in student ministry?

We try to keep the “love OTHERS” message — that Jesus talked about so much — on the minds and hearts of students.

  • We do that through intertwining Jesus’ heartbeat and passion for OTHERS into our student messages and small group discussions.
  • We do that through offering a variety of opportunities for students to practice this hands on through outreach / service projects.
  • We do that by teaching students that loving OTHERS looks different for everyone. (I absolutely loved Tim Schmoyer’s Online Mission Trip idea from earlier this year.)
  • We do that by modeling it in our own lives as leaders and we try to share stories from our personal lives when that happens.
  • We challenge students to pray for their friends and to ask God to give them a heart for OTHERS.

God, help us as pastors to students to help our students see people the way Jesus sees them.

[Photo by: tfkrawksmysocks]


Shawn Michael

Husband, father, musician, pastor, Internet junkie, and Foursquare District NextGen Rep for the Gateway District