A few years ago when I was working in Southern California as a new youth pastor, a handful of students in our youth group asked how they could reach out to their non-Christian friends at school. Before we came up with a plan or a strategy, we began with prayer, mostly because I couldn’t think of a good plan or strategy and less because I’m super-spiritual. And then a riot happened…
A week before Christmas break, violent elements in the local public school confronted one another along racial lines. The brawl spilled out into total chaos throughout the school and local law enforcement were called in to restore order.
The school administration called upon local churches to begin attending school lunches when school resumed in January. They called the program, “Pastors on the Premises.” Our job as pastors everyday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. was to be there with students and build relationships, healing, and trust. What a fantastic opportunity for me as a youth pastor to join my handful of students on their campus to reach out to their friends!
Our goal at Stonebriar in Family Ministry, from the time our kids are little to the time they graduate, is to equip them relationally to rescue and protect others. So, what does that look like at school? Certainly to rescue and protect others at school would include:
- Living with Authenticity… “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).
- Being Ready to Explain… “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it” (1 Peter 3:15).
- Seeing the Need… “When [Jesus] saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
But to really rescue and protect others, students need to rely on God. Only God can do the work of spiritual healing. Only He can draw someone to Himself.
To rescue and protect others at school is to recognize where God is working and join Him.
When students are praying for their friends, classmates, teammates, teachers and coaches, they are ready to recognize where God is working.
Here’s something to try: Ask your son or daughter to make a prayer list of people at school. At dinner, or before school, or before going to sleep, pray together for those people on their prayer list. Watch and see how God begins working!
And if a massive riot happens before Christmas break, don’t tell anyone it was your fault for praying!
High School Pastor
Emerging from the depths of the late 1970s, Nathan Kocurek spent his formative years under the influence of Hall & Oates, Duran Duran, and other notables while listening to KRBE in Houston on the clock radio beside his bed. Nathan was influenced to love Jesus by the example of his young single mom, and he grew up with a love for God but an incomplete understanding of discipleship. As a result, as a teenager, he indulged in a relentless and, at times, reckless pursuit of social and athletic achievements, seeking to assuage an innermost feeling of emptiness that he could not escape. Finally, by God’s grace, the Spirit of the Lord made it clear to him that none but Jesus could satisfy what he was lacking. The answer had been there all along. Later, Nathan married the girl of his dreams and they ran off to California, had two sons, and returned to Texas where they adopted their sweet daughter. Having served as a Student Minister at two previous churches over the past 18 years, Nathan and his wife, Marie, are now thrilled to follow the calling of Christ at Stonebriar Community Church.