Our students have a lot on their plate. They have pressures on them from home, school, their peers, and the culture in general. And then often times we come in and add on to that pressure. "You have to be at this event." "You have to do this service project." "You must read this Bible study." "You must follow these rules." Are these bad things in themselves? No. Because like I said before, we offer the things we do so that students can experience life change in Christ and help others do the same as well. But if we are not careful, in doing this we add a burden to our students that ends up overwhelming them and turns them away from Christ instead of drawing them closer.
We need to make sure that we are clearly communicating to our students that Christ wants to free them. He wants to free them from their sin. He wants to free them from the pressures that the world places on them so they can live a life devoted to honoring Him and loving others. We need to help them see this opportunity as well as communicating with them how to experience it. And in the process we need to make sure that we undo all of our teaching by adding on more bondage of our own. You see the things I said before are great things. But when we communicate them the wrong way we make our students think that if they do not do them they are not truly following Christ. This adds an unnecessary burden on them and makes them think that they need more than just Jesus work on the cross.
Now, there are times where we do need to push our students to be at everything because when they are missing they are usually pulling away from God or their priorities are out of whack. But other times we should not because either they are going to be out doing ministry amongst their friends or they may have major family responsibilities. Whether we are pushing them to be a part of our ministry activities or just mentioning that they are available, it always needs to be done with an attitude of love that says we want you to be a part of what is going on because we think it could be beneficial, further your freedom in Christ, and we care about you. And never have an attitude that pressures them into thinking following Christ is a series of burdens.