Lead and Not Follow

It is unfortunate that most young adults want to “fit in” and are afraid to be different.  Yes, they say that they want to be different, but for the most part they do the same things that others their age do.

One might say that they got a tattoo or a body piercing because they wanted to be different.  The reality is that those aren’t different anymore, and since a lot of people have them, you can argue that they got them to fit in instead of to be different.

Youth also get pressured into drinking alcohol, doing drugs or having sex, because they want to fit in. Years ago, I did those things just to fit in.  Peer pressure is higher than ever, and the fear of being made fun of, or being different is huge.

I believe the top issues that plague this generation are the below, and not in any particular order.

  • Leaving Christianity / Lack of Morals
  • Drugs / Alcohol Abuse
  • Growing Up Too Fast
  • Violence In Schools
  • Materialism
  • Erosion of National Pride / Identity
  • Shifting Economy
  • Single Parent Households

Take a look again at the list.  You could argue that a factor in the top 6 is the desire for people to fit in, and go with the flow, instead of being different.  In other words, people followed instead of lead.

When our child was young, he wanted to fit in and didn’t want to be made fun of for being different.  That was true of me as well when I was young, and my guess is that it was the same for you.  Still we encouraged our son to be a leader and not a follower.  We stressed that being different when doing the right thing, is always good, and shows that you are leading and not following.  It is hard to do, but God will always reward it.

One day we took our son hiking in the trails of Pennsylvania.  Our son wanted to lead and walk way ahead of us, so we let him.  I was secretly a little concerned, because of seeing bears before while hiking those trails.  But I didn’t let it show, and trusted that God was in control.  I was so proud of him getting out front and leading the pack, unafraid of what might be ahead.

As our son grew older, by the grace of God, he made some wise decisions.  He decided not to drink alcohol until he was 21, and he decided that he didn’t always need a girlfriend to make him look or feel good about himself.  If you ask him, I’m sure he would say there are several reasons for him not following down a reckless path, but I know that one of them is because we instilled in him a desire to lead and not follow, and to only follow Christ.

We must teach our children from a young age, and remind them often, that it is better to be different when doing the right thing, because you are leading instead of following.  And the only one we should truly follow is Jesus Christ.

Here are some verses to share with your kids.

So ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch. (Matthew 15:14, NLT)

Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.  Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. (Ephesians 5:10-11, NLT)

Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young.  Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

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Ken Leaman

Ken Leaman has a passion for students, and for over 30 years has been volunteering within churches and other ministries, leading and mentoring students. These churches are:

Ken works for Amazon Web Services as a Support Operations Manager. Ken has also served on the boards of other non-profits like the DFW Technology Prayer Breakfast, and the DFW Help Desk Institute.

Ken, and his wife Karen, have been married for 31 years, and have a 30 year old son. They live in Allen, TX, just North of Dallas.

As Ken and Karen repeatedly witnessed many Christian students who were active within the Church walk away from their faith shortly after graduating high school, they grew frustrated.  Studies show that about 70% of young adults leave their faith after graduation, which is a huge issue since they are the future of the Church.  After much prayer and searching God's direction for many years, the Leaman's felt His calling to start a ministry to address this problem.  In 2014, they gathered like minded Christian professionals to help begin Young Adults of Worth Ministries.  We believe that this ministry is from God, and it will be blessed by Him for His glory alone.