This morning while chatting with my friend Brian Aaby at a Starbucks I was floored by a term that he used to describe how Lead THE Cause impacts students. He said that our full-week evangelism training boot camp "normalizes risk."
These two words struck a chord in me because it's true. It also struck a chord in some of his students who wrote in Sharpie on their arms before going out on the first day of our Lead THE Cause outreach,
When teenagers experience a Christianity that normalizes risk then it, not only drives their faith deeper, but it takes their faith wider. It pushes them to the edges of themselves and, in the words of Tim Keller, "forces them to rely on God."
On opening night of Lead THE Cause we had kids pray out loud...all at the same time...together (#NormalizeRisk.) Then we took teenagers to Columbine High School where a horrific school shooting unfolded 18 years ago. We told the Columbine story and then prayed in the school, around the school and at the heart-wrenching memorial by the school (#NormalizeRisk.)
As I type these words these same teenagers are heading back from an outreach experience where they shared the Gospel with complete strangers (#NormalizeRisk.)
Tonight these students will text or FaceTime a friend to engage them in a Gospel conversation (#NormalizeRisk.)
Tomorrow we'll do it all over again and continue to normalize risk in the process.
On Friday morning teenagers and youth leaders alike will make plans to normalize risk by putting prayer, relational evangelism and disciple multiplication into their weekly calendars when they get back home.
Why is normalizing risk so important? Because when teenagers normalize risk they are taking Jesus and the call to follow him seriously!
In Luke 9:23 Jesus said, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." Jesus is calling his disciples to deny themselves and take up their cross daily...to make risking a normal, even daily thing!
When teenagers are willing to consistently pick up their crosses through evangelism and risk dying a social death they are normalizing risk. This brand of risk makes their faith their own. This brand of risk helps them to die to themselves in other areas as well. When teenagers are more concerned about lost souls than their number of Instagram followers you know that something significant is happening!