Here’s three ideas to help your students embrace the back-to-school experience:
1. Be present. When students show up to school this year, they can have a different mindset and countenance than every other student who is walking from the parking lot and wishing they could be somewhere else. Someday soon, they will be unable to attend a place where all their friends and people the same age can regularly hang out, and where lots of adults are present to help them become a better person. Help them to realize and fully see all of the good moments that come each and every day of their school experience.
“… dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)
2. Try something new. As a youth pastor I spend more time at school events then I did when I was a teenager. Every time I go I think to myself, “I wish I would have gone to more events when I was a student.” School events and games are designed for fun and community. Encourage your students to try out a new club or put down “Fortnite” on Friday night and go cheer on their football team! Adventure always comes when we try something new.
3. Be an example. Every school in the world is looking for hope. If we are to live Romans 12:1-2 out this year, then we should represent it well. Be a student who thinks differently and isn’t afraid to stand up for what’s right – even when it’s not popular. The Bible tells us this is how we experience God’s will, which is the greatest message of hope out there. Help your students to think of the phrase “back to school” as an adventure and opportunity to represent the Lord well.
Chris Avery is the student pastor at Inland Hills Church in California. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.