Before I meet with students for worship, hanging out, special events, etc., I ask God to give me the right heart, the right mind, and - maybe most importantly - I ask Him to help me when I meet new students to love them before I meet them.
And I really do. I make the decision that when I meet a teenager, no matter how stinky, rude, mean, troubled, distracting, whatever they are, I'm going to love them. Am I perfect in this practice? Of course not! But man does it help to pray and set my mind and heart on choosing love and acceptance on the front end BEFORE the new junior high kid that shows up puts a hole in the wall or the high schooler falls asleep during my message time.
Do you do this? Do you decide before you ever meet a new student that all you will do is love them? Do you decide against judgement, criticism, resentment, or impatience?
What if our students did this as well? What if they decided that every one of their peers that walked through our church/youth room doors was going to be loved, accepted, encouraged, and welcomed just as they were? How awesome would that be!?
I'm going to challenge my students to do this - I encourage you to do the same!
- Tim B.