Secure Salvation and Belief
I have two adult leaders in my youth ministry that have been madly going after our students making sure that our students are sure of their salvation. They have been at this for a couple years now, and I will refer to them as the "Salvation Confirmation Team." They have literally made this concept of questioning whether one's salvation something that needs to be considered by each and every person. When I first encountered this, I thought there was a part of the brain that was missing in each of them because they were radical about the salvation of others. They are volunteers, but this is their life. They desire that each and every teenager that is part of our youth ministry knows Jesus Christ in the way that Christ says is appropriate.
As I have observed each one of them and have thought about the concept that they are proclaiming, I have become more enamored with this idea and way of going after the salvation of our teenagers. It's not that they are trying to draw into question the part of salvation that is by grace alone, they simply want our teens to understand that they have salvation.
I actually may have come to agree with their thoughts on this idea. For it was Jesus who said,
Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV)
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
And with that we find that there are people that actually somehow trick ourselves into thinking that we are saved to begin with. In Western Culture, we are good at being chameleons because we are taught to be like people around us and we don’t live in close enough proximity for people to really know who we are. For this reason, we can actually trick ourselves and others into anything that we want to portray to others. It’s happening in the local church. I believe that this is happening in the generation of teenagers that we are working with. They have tricked themselves into believing they are part of the “gospel” story because one time, someone told them that they were saved. So, instead of preaching the transforming gospel, we have got caught up thinking that our job as youth leaders is to somehow attract teenagers. Wasn’t the gospel an attraction as Jesus preached it? Think about it. Jesus wasn’t a pop star. He wasn’t pretty. He might have been a dynamic preacher (for who could speak to 5,000 people without a countryman mic and a thrown together sound system and not be called dynamic?). But the gospel, the words that he said, the life transforming power that those words held for people were transforming enough, they were attractional enough, they were the very words of God. And we have them!
When Jesus says “Believe” in me, he is not talking about uttering a prayer. Rather, he is talking about an individual coming to the foot of the cross and DYING. He is talking about participating in the death and resurrection of Jesus as it pertains to the sin in our lives and the things that we are addicted to. The word “believe” is found ALL over scripture. (John 3:15, John 3:36, John 6:40, John 6:47, John 11:25-26, John 20:30-31, Acts 16:25-31, Romans 10:8-13, 1 Corinthians 1:21-24, 1 Timothy 1:15-16, 1 Peter 1:6-9, 1 John 5:10-13). When we begin to get what that word really means, we will stop muttering the mamby pamby gospel and begin to utter the powerful words of the good news that Jesus spoke. What does it mean for us as youth leaders to “come and die” at the foot of the cross for the sake of our king and kingdom? I’m certainly not talking about any sort of violence or craziness, rather it is dying to self that is required so that I can fully understand the gospel in my life! (Colossians 1:6 has a reference to this full understanding of the gospel, check it out.)
For us to lead teenagers to this transformative gospel, we must be willing to let the gospel revolutionize our own lives. Or my adult leader friends will come and ask you point blank, “Are you sure that you have put your faith in Jesus Christ and that you are saved?”
About Me, Chris Rollman
My name is Chris Rollman. I am married to a wonderful woman, Cassie, and we have two pretty cool kids. Isaiah is a handful but a wonderful handful and Evy is a bundle of joy and alot of fun!
My mission is 1. Lead my family well and 2. Multiply churches that multiply churches to saturate our county with the gospel and reduce the lostness. I am the "Pastor of Church Planting" at West E. Free Church in Wichita, KS.
I grew up in Central Iowa, North of Des Moines in Ankeny, Ia. I realized at a young age that church could be a real dangerous place to be and went through high school going to a solid 'safe' church. But the extreme experiences that I had with church was only mirrored with the extreme experiences that I have and had with God. He seemed distant sometimes and so close other times. I realized that discipleship and following him wasn't about whether it felt good, but whether or not I was consistent and obedient all because I was madly in love with him. I want others to experience this growth in their lives. I want those that don't know Christ to come to know him through the relationships that they have with people that know and follow Jesus!