For some reason, we often settle for mediocre in various aspects of our life. The attitude of “just getting by” or “that should be enough” gets us a passing grade in school and sometimes our job. But, does mediocrity have any place in a growing relationship with Christ? Does it belong in a young adult ministry?
As young adult ministry leaders we cannot be satisfied with mediocrity in our ministry. Instead, we should be consistently challenging young adults to a level of serving Him that takes them beyond their comfort zones or abilities. In no way am I encouraging young adults to adopt a works-based theology in their walk with Christ. But because Christ is BETTER than anything else present in our lives, I want to raise the bar on the level of challenge that we present to young adults when it comes to following Him.
Currently, I’m walking through the letter of Colossians with a group of college students from my church and Colossians 3:17 reminds me that everything (and remember that word really does mean everything) that we do is to be done in the name of Jesus. Paul says to us, “And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
And when it comes to Jesus, nothing is mediocre.
Why challenge young adults to move beyond mediocre? Here are just four reasons:
- Young adults are up to the challenge.
What I love about serving alongside young adults is that they read Scripture with an eye of seriousness. When Jesus says we’re to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth, young adults are just crazy enough (in the world’s eyes) to go do that!
What’s the key behind this? We MUST help our young adults fall in love with the Word of God. Nothing breeds mediocrity more than a watered-down, skimming the surface study of the Scriptures. When studying the Word of God, ask the hard questions, study the context, and dig deep into how it intersects in our lives of modern day American living.
- Young adults get creative license to be who they are in Christ.
The Creator of the Universe has given us His Spirit to live in us and work through us—and there is nothing mediocre about Him! When young adults embrace their unique God-given gifts and talents, they’re ready to explore the unknown and unexpected. Some of the most creative ways of reaching others, discipling others, and impacting the Kingdom have come when young adults had permission to think with the creative spirit the Lord gave them. So often, these creative ideas lead to beautiful transformations.
- Going “all in” allows our ministry (and the young adults we serve) to become Kingdom-focused.
When we do or say things in the name of Jesus, who knows where that will eventually take us? When we as leaders raise the bar on what it means to follow Christ wholeheartedly, the sphere of influence our young adults have will increase. And so will their impact on the kingdom of God. Mediocre thinking is often contained to small and low impact. Kingdom thinking is extraordinary and completely out of our hands.
- As leaders, this kind of thinking raises the bar in our own lives.
If we expect young adults to raise the bar of doing all things in the name of Jesus, we must seek the same within our own lives. This means in our jobs, in our families, and in all of our relationships. Young adults watch the lives of their leaders and model what they have seen. When I allow God’s Word to impact every crevice of my life, I’ll begin to see the same desire in the young adults that I lead.
Mediocre is never acceptable in a walk with Jesus! His life reflected His relationship with His Father moment by moment. And because of my relationship with Him, I should never be satisfied with mediocre.
Mark Whitt is the Collegiate and Young Adult Specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources. Before joining LifeWay, he spent many years on the campus of Murray State University as a campus minister. Connect with Mark on Twitter: @MarkWhitt70.