All of us want to be known and to feel like we are understood. Having a sense of identity provides meaning, unity and purpose in our lives…and yet, this process is seemingly becoming more and more of a struggle. Why? Due to the weight that is put on HOW we define ourselves and also the reality that our current cultural climate values a sense of identity fluidity—you can identify one way today and another way tomorrow, and no one is to question that.
In theory, this sounds great…but in reality this means you have little to no firm footing with which to understand yourself. If your identity is constantly in a state of flux, then where do you get your sense of purpose and meaning? And how do you find your place in the world around you if it is also constantly shifting and moving?
It’s like trying to follow instructions on a GPS that’s changing coordinates and rerouting you. You eventually are left just feeling frustrated and, quite frankly, lost.
I’m not saying that there won’t be parts of our identity that shift and shape with time. I certainly don’t dress like I did in high school or act the way that I did in grade 5 (at least not most of the time) but there needs to be some constants to help us find our place, to give us footing, to help us know and understand who we are…REALLY are…at our core.
The reality is that this need for change, but also to be clearly defined and understood, aligns with the Good News of Jesus…in fact, arguably, it’s at the very core of the gospel.
1 Corinthians 5:14b-17 (NLT)
Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life.[d] He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
This is where our identity comes from.
We are defined by our relationship with God and that gives us a sense of being and helps us know who we really are. There is an exchange of identity based on “who am I living for?” and with that comes a new way of determining identity based on Christ.
In Jesus, we are a new creation. Our past no longer defines us and we can move into the future as God intended—with hope and purpose and meaning, rather than it being based on external achievement, status or merit. “For by GRACE we are saved through faith…it is a gift of God.”
This is the significance of what we are doing when we share our faith. In these moments, we invite people to find themselves in the story of God, to learn who they were literally created to be.
What an incredible privilege, honour and responsibility!
How are you introducing youth in your ministry to the story of God? What creative avenues are you using to help them start to see themselves inside of this story and inviting them in?
If you think about these kinds of questions as it relates to your ministry than you are exactly the kind of person who will benefit from the Youth Ministry Online Summit.
Two events. One for youth ministry staff. One for youth ministry volunteers.
The most thoughtful and strategic speakers we know are presenting to Canadian youth ministry staff on August 19. Here are a few of them you won’t want to miss…
Kristen Ivy from Orange
Vince Parker from Life.Church
Mark Matlock, coauthor of Faith for Exiles
On September 12, there will be practical training that will unite and inspire your whole youth ministry team, covering topics like:
How do we help teenagers in crisis?
How do we lead a small group?
How do we model spiritual disciplines?
How do we become healthy Youth Workers?
Both events will cover the most important things pertaining to ministry this fall.
To find out more, click on the banner below.