The following post was written by Chris Swain, Director of Lifeway Student Ministry Publishing
I recently had a chance to read Counter Culture by David Platt. With a biblical focus on American culture and the major issues we face, this terrific book helped me have a greater understanding of how the Christian worldview intersects with culture. One of the greatest challenges we face in leading students is helping them develop a biblical view of difficult issues like sex trafficking, the sanctity of life, pornography, and gender roles. Perhaps there was a time when these issues were handled in the home, or they were not as big of an issue. If so, that time is long past and student leaders must be able to have gospel-centered discussions with students who are bombarded with a worldview contrary to Scripture. So what are we to do? Here are a few ways you can help your students live counter culture in a way that honors Christ and propels the gospel.
- Know the issues. As a leader of students you must absolutely have a working knowledge of the issues they face. Read up on the latest news regarding same-sex marriage, sex trafficking, pornography, abortion, and gender roles. Additionally, take time to watch what students are watching, listen to the music they are listening to. Not sure what those things are? Ask your students. You don’t have to immerse yourself in everything but you need to have a working knowledge of it if you are to have meaningful conversations.
- Have those conversations. Rather than waiting for the day that a student or family comes to you for answers, initiate conversations on the tough cultural issues they face. Too often the church can be seen as shying away from difficult issues or being unapproachable on the issues. Open dialogue needs to happen and students need to know that the church is not afraid to address even the most challenging issues of the day. Jesus never shied away from sharing the truth even when it hurt. But He always did so with grace and love.
- Equip your students to own their faith. There is no doubt that your students will be put on the spot to articulate their stance on all of these issues in our culture. You want them to be able to articulate a clear, biblically sound position on each of the major issues they face. Help them by equipping them with answers and encouraging them to operate out of love for God and love for others. Our students should shake the culture with the amazing love of the gospel rather than hide or defend a weak position they haven’t truly understood. The challenge is great but it is worthy of our calling as student leaders.
The truth is, difficult issues like sex trafficking, gender roles, and abortion are not new. But as our culture embraces positions contrary to Scripture and pushes its aggressive agenda on students to conform, we must stand firm on God’s Word. We must equip them with the gospel, which is God’s power to bring salvation. None of the cultural issues we face will be overcome by political power or wishful thinking. Christ alone is the answer for our culture, our students, and our world.