This may be a slightly controversial claim but as Youth Pastor I am a hypocrite. In an ideal and perfect world Youth Pastors shouldn’t be hypocrites but we all are. One of our mandates as Pastors is to call our congregation to a relationship with Jesus and a lifestyle that reveals a life changed by Him.
Every week at youth group I am encouraging my students to Love Jesus with everything they are and have. I believe its through a relationship with God that students can find their true identity and purpose in this life. I tell them things like be vigilant, keep focused on God, don’t get distracted by the allure and attractiveness of what the world around them glorifies but focus on Jesus. Don’t get sucked into sin because it will ensnare you, and spend time getting to know Jesus through prayer and the Bible His Word.
As much as I encourage my students to focus on God and to live lives emulating His Son Jesus Christ. I struggle.
Yesterday I talked with our students about how technology is a means for humanists to display their lack of need for God; it’s an issue of human pride. I also talked about how technology is an object of Idolatry. I talked about how we spend so much time either playing video games, watching Netflix, spending time on social media, or playing with the next gadget that we tend to neglect our relationship with God. I talked about how we as humans spend our free time is an indicator of what we value most in life.
I shared with them a conversation I had with a close friend from Bible college. His name is Matthew Houle and he is a youth Pastor at a small Baptist church in the Ottawa Valley. I asked him how much time I should be spending watching Netflix or enjoying media for entertainment. He said something along the lines of: “However much time you spend on entertainment you should be spending more time with God” That means that if I spend an hour watching Netflix I should spend at least an hour with God. If I spend 6 hours bingeing a show on Netflix I should be spending at least 6 hours with God. WOW!
I bet when you first read that you were like wow! Is he crazy!? Who has time for that? But think about it! Why is our tendency in our free time to vegetate and watch T.V. and play video-games instead of finding rest in God? Imagine the implications!!! Imagine a church/generation of Christians so in tune with their God and Father that they know His heart! So in tune with God that they can basically discern His will in every situation! Imagine a generation of Christians that knows their Bible so well that they are ready in every circumstance to give a reason for their faith!
I want to be clear: anything we do in life can be an act of worship to God but i want to challenge us to evaluate how we spend our free time. Matt’s claim may a little strong but it challenges us to spend time with our creator and I think that is important .
Also much as I desire this ability to spend my time more wisely I must confess as a mentioned before; I am a hypocrite. I have this tendency after a long hard day at work to flop on my couch and play a cool game of Stronghold Crusader or watch funny YouTube videos. I also believe as a leader I need to model the way. So how can I motivate students to grow their relationship with God when it’s so difficult for me? I don’t know… I need God and I need to continue to strive towards the goal as we all do.