Crafting a “Last Message” to students can be intimidating. In one message, what would you say to a group of students that you have poured into for years? While I may want to tell remind you that I am better than you at ping-pong, or even tell you that the “showers are mandatory” rule was because of your lack of desire to take one at camp, I will focus on three principles that will impact you in a greater way.
- Fight for a Gospel focus in your life
Remember the mission trips we went on? What about the local service projects? How about the many evangelism training sessions we taught you? Oh, and that cool sign we made out of pallets that hung up by the door that read “Be the church?” The overall goal was to encourage you to live your life with the overarching goal to always be on mission for Christ, willing to live for Him in every adventure you are on. Paul encourages us to “…live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
- Make reading God’s Word a priority in your life
Ok, so you definitely remember the countless devotional books that were handed to you. We were creative with the Bible reading plans. The social media posts, the text messages, the handouts that were given during small groups, the post-camp devotionals…the student ministry was probably the single cause of having to buy a new copier.
No doubt you remember me saying this as I held up my Bible, “You will learn more from God’s Word than you ever will from me.” As you navigate life’s directions, make reading God’s Word a priority in your life. Be consistent in the Word. Follow a plan. Get to know God’s nature and character through His unchanging Word!
- Stay committed to the local church throughout your life
Now, there is no doubt in my mind you will be able to recall the efforts we made to get you to church. The breakfast parties for the highest attendance in Sunday School (small groups, life groups, etc…), Sunday afternoon fellowships that didn’t start until worship ended, the final session of D-Now concluding on Sunday morning during worship. The goal was for you to be in corporate worship with the church body. Hebrews 10:24-25 teaches us to continually meet together as a church, “And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, 25 not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.”
You are on a journey that will possibly take you to college, to live in a city that you have never heard of, or even stay in the town that you grew up in. While student ministry will end for you, the local church will not. Find a local church and get connected. Be involved in a small group that will hold you accountable to living your life for the Gospel.
Serving as your youth pastor has been a privilege and an honor. To be honest, I am not even a huge fan of Fortnite, I only played it to connect with you so you would continue to be involved in our church and see the eternal joy of living for Jesus. Know that you are prayed for.