The goal of writing a book on grace is not to add to the noise and bedlam of other writers endeavoring upon the same themes. My primary end was to embark upon my own journey of faith, knowing that through the study of this most sublime doctrine and gift of God that my own spiritual life and understandings would morph and magnify to blinding degrees. But, along with that is the desire that young ministers everywhere would be encouraged to preach the gospel, the whole gospel, and nothing but the gospel.
Youth pastors are too often shied away from preaching the pure, unadulterated message of the gospel. The tendency becomes to rely on regulation, coercion, guilt, and force to get those “wayward” teens to straighten up. Youth ministries can quickly devolve into legalistic playgrounds where rules run rampant. But the fact remains that youth ministry is at its worst when it’s regulated to being nothing more than a teenage daycare, instilling in them only do’s and don’ts. The youth group isn’t a church-appointed obedience school for teens who want to rebel. Rather, it is a vital extension of the church body in which its future dwells.
Youth ministry is at its best when it’s “rightly dividing the Word truth” (2 Tim. 2:15), when it’s describing to teens in a myriad of ways how the gospel frees them to be obedient; how Christ’s finished work for them on the cross liberates them from caring about their own interests to courageously investing their lives in others. The gospel-truth of God’s free and abundant grace is that which enables and empowers students to not talk back to their parents, to not slander their peers behind their backs, to not bully those who are weaker, to not indulge themselves in pornography and drugs — in short, it’s what enables and empowers the Christian life.
Youth ministers, do not recoil at parents’ concern over your message of grace by nullifying it with the admixture of works, and formulas for acceptance by obedience. (Gal. 2:21) Do not cower from this message by infusing it with qualifiers and exceptions is to cage it, relegating it to impotency. To understand how life works, we must first understand the genesis of life in Christ, and that’s through the unsullied, untouched message of grace. Grace that’s so much more than you know and so much better than you think.
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Grace makes the impossible possible. Grace gives you what you could never get for yourself. Grace is the only thing that can span vast cavern between guilt and glory. Grace is so much more than you know and so much better than you think. Grab your “Grace Is Better” shirt today!