Man, let me tell you…that was a good conference. Just got back from a week at a student leadership conference, and God moved. I’m talking life-changing decisions were made, walls were broken down…OK STOP RIGHT THERE!
Let’s hope in the Delorean, make sure the Flux Capacitor is working, and set our date for 5 years from now. Are these students still on fire for God? Are they still following through with the decisions they made at the conference, or the camp, or the mission trip, or the FILL IN THE BLANK. Or do you find them making the same decisions, adrift from God at some university, attending the parties you hoped they wouldn’t, and sleeping in on Sunday mornings with little interest in opening that dusty Bible at the end of their shelf? I don’t want to look at the picture from that special week, and see them disappear from their spiritual high (forgive me for all the Back to the Future references, or just enjoy them).
So how do we stop these students from falling off the mountain, from abandoning the spiritual high that they gained on these trips? How do we make sure these feelings, decisions, and life changes were not manufactured by the environment, by a bonfire experience, or simply not being on their cell phone/computer 13 hours a day?
Here are 4 suggestions to keep the spiritual high going for a lifetime:
- The all-important debrief – Try to do this before you leave. Because once you get back in the summer schedule, good luck getting all these students back to meet at one time. So discuss the week. Have them verbally give their commitments, have them sign their commitments, and pray for their commitments. Give them real-life situations that they may face, and talk it out.
- Warning: After an important spiritual decision, the enemy will use his firepower to take you down. Now, you don’t have to say it like this, but a warning is needed for them to understand they will be tested. If they made a decision about purity, expect a test. If they made a decision about respecting parents, expect a chore list when they get home just to see if they are serious. No need to scare them, but there is a need to bring them reality of the spiritual battle that is about to incur.
- Follow-up – Encourage them to tell someone that can keep them accountable. You follow up with them in their decisions. Pray for them and pray with them about their struggles.
- Show me the money – If they said they would serve more in ministry, then put them on the children’s church team. If they said they wanted to be more involved in youth group, then have them plan the activity. Don’t let their promises be like a bad politician commercial and promise all these things, but then don’t follow through. Give them opportunity for success and to follow through on their commitments.
How do you help your students keep their spiritual high?