I began to wrestle with this question recently as I continued to hear the popular phrase, "body of believers." I never really thought too much of it as it has a nice ring to it and kind of gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling. But then I looked at scripture and realized that Jesus never just called people to believe in Him, but instead actually called them to follow Him. Take the rich young ruler for an example. If we were Jesus we would be excited that this guy came and was ready to jump in. But Jesus knew that the rich young ruler was not quite ready for the commitment level that He required. He knew that while the rich young ruler believed in Him, meaning Jesus, he was not quite ready to follow and be a disciple. And again and again we see this in scripture. People are beginning to believe in Jesus, but they just will not take up their cross and follow Him.
Then I began to look at the church and realize that while we were a group of believers but there were not a lot of people who seemed to be actively following Jesus as His disciples. And this problem seemed to be just as prevalent in the youth ministry of many churches. Now, by no means am I trying to step out and question anyone's salvation, but what I am realizing is that we need to raise the bar in our ministries. It is time that we ensure that your students are not just settling for belief, but are actively being changed by that belief to the point where they live as disciples of Jesus and follow Him. And this process starts with us and trickles down to our leaders and students. We need to not only make sure that we clearly communicate this truth with our words, but also make sure that we model it with our actions. This way our students have an authentic example they can follow as they daily raise the bar in their spiritual walk.