1. He got frustrated.- Some of my favorite passages in the Gospels are when Jesus' disciples just are not understanding and He gets frustrated with them. I believe He did this because He knew He had communicated to them what they needed to hear but Jesus also knew just how important His message was and how important it was that the disciples understood and lived that message out. This brings comfort to me because it reminds me that when I feel frustration for the exact same reasons it is okay because this message of the Gospel that we are bringing is that important and we cannot let our students slide when they choose to ignore it.
2. He sent them out.- We see in a few instances in the Gospels where Jesus sends His disciples out to do ministry. We must do the same. Our ministries can not be centered around a come and see approach. Instead, as we pour into our students we should find times to send them out so they can pour into others. This way, as Jesus' followers did, they can get excited about what is going on and want to follow Jesus all the more. Plus they realize they can do ministry without us. This is an important lesson because they will have to at some point in their lives.
3. He did life with them.- Jesus didn't just offer an hour long Bible study on Sunday mornings and an hour long service in the middle of the week. He actually did life with His disciples and looked for teachable moments in day to day situations. Granted, you can't exactly spend as much time with your students as Jesus did with His disciples, but we can follow Jesus example as we see what it really means to invest in the lives of others. This way we will realize we must raise the bar in our own ministries and look for ways to get outside of the walls of our offices and church buildings and get out and do life with our students.
4. He lead by example.- Jesus did not say things, He did them. The greatest example of this is when Jesus said no greater love has anyone than that He would lay down His life for His friends. Then He did just that, He died for them and for all of us. We must lead by example. We cannot just speak truth but must also live it out so that our students can not only see how to live out their faith but also so that they see we are authentic and genuine which will bring that much authority to what we say.
5. He let them figure it out.- Jesus did not just spoon feed truth to His disciples. He would often give them and others a picture of what He was saying and then allow them to wrestle with the truth and figure things out. We should do the same. We should not spoon feed the Bible to our students but should instead allow them to wrestle with things so they can find truth for themselves and take ownership of their faith. This way, not only are they being discipled, but they will also be better able to turn around and disciple others.
6. He had balance. - Sometimes Jesus was patient with His disciples and sometimes He was harsh. It just depended on the situation and what His disciples needed at the time. This is because Jesus knew that at times loving someone meant boldly speaking truth into their lives. We need to have this same balance and make sure that we are giving our students what they needed. Especially cause many of us lean one way or the other, we are either always harsh or always compassionate. But we must realize that a big part of loving our students is giving them what they need when they need it.
7. He didn't reach everybody. - The world has never been the same because of Jesus and His impact cannot be overstated. But in His life on Earth Jesus did not reach everyone. In fact He did not get to far away from His hometown, had moments where He basically turned people away who seemed ready to follow Him, and invested in twelve guys. This is an extremely important lesson. We have not been called to reach everyone. And while I think that we should try to reach as many people as possible we need to realize how we go about this. We do what Jesus did. We invest in a few so they can go out and invest in others and so on and so on. We need to be investing in leaders and trusting them to invest in students. We need to invest in students and empowering them to go out and reach other students. This way we have an army of people doing ministry in our communities instead of just relying on ourselves to do everything.
8. He had a sense of urgency.- Jesus knew He only had three years with His disciples and so everything He did and taught had a sense of urgency to it. You can see this towards the end of His life when He gets more stern at times with His disciples if they do not understand. We need to have a sense of urgency as well. Because not only are our lives short but we also never no how long we will have with the students at our churches because ministry stints can often be short. Therefore we must work earnestly to see as many students experience life change as soon as possible because we never no when we will have the opportunity again.
Even though we could keep going we will stop here for today. But I encourage you to continue this on your own. Look at the example of Jesus and see what you can apply in your own youth ministry and then not only implement those lessons but also share them with us.