Chances are that if you work with students and you are serious about making disciples then it will not be long until you hear the phrase “Stop Judging Me!” If you haven’t had a student yell this at you, text it to you, post it on Facebook or tweet it, just know, it’s coming.
The culture we find ourselves in does not want to be challenged about what it values or how it lives and it certainly does not want to be confronted about issues of morality. God’s Kingdom works the opposite. Discipleship without accountability is fruitless. Disciples hear what Jesus is saying to them and then act in obedience. The lynch pin between hearing from Jesus and doing what he says is accountability. Without it we find ourselves stuck. Accountability is vital for disciples to move forward. So what do we do when we are in a culture that is opposed to being accountable? As missional leaders who have a passion for empowering students to be like Jesus this presents quite a challenge.
Over the last few months I’ve had a number of normal but difficult conversations with students about all kinds of stuff, from sexual sin and addictions to suicide and bullying. I am generally pretty positive about talking to students about rough stuff, viewing them as opportunities. What surprised me this time was the number of students who said in one way or another “stop judging me”. It is becoming increasingly difficult to hold students to an account or even point out behavior that is destructive.
The next few weeks Mike and I will be digging into this subject and will be sharing some practical ideas of how to engage students in healthy accountable relationships. If we are to help students become more like Jesus then we must learn to navigate in a world that thinks accountability is judgmental. If you have some experiences or insights of your own on this subject please share them with us. We are all in this together.