This past weekend I received notification that an old Campus Life teen, Cory*, had died from a prescription drug overdose 3 days earlier while trying to get high.  Cory was in his mid 20’s and we hadn’t seen each other for quite a while.  As a matter of fact this news was the first news I had heard about Cory in at least 5 years.  The news itself shook me to the core…I don’t think we are ever ready to hear that kind of traumatic news about a young life.  

I knew Cory and a bunch of his friends in high school.  To be really honest they were far from God and into the party scene.  For those two reasons I really tried to engage this group of students relationally.  I had the opportunity to get to know lots of these guys really well.  Most of them came to Campus Life club; I took a few of them on trips, and even sat down one on one with several of them to share Christ.  Looking back, I never got the opportunity to have an in-depth conversation with Cory.  Cory came to club but never went on a trip, never was involved in a small group, and no one from the Campus Life staff team ever took him out for an appointment.  We had the chance to reach many of his friends, but for those years in high school we never got that close to Cory.  

Have you ever looked back and thought, “I wish I would have been more intentional about initiating with him/her?”  If you are anything like me, you have probably thought or said a phrase similar to that a hundred times.  We often see the tumultuous track teens head down and wonder if it would have been different if we would have connected with them more deeply.  If we would have introduced them to Jesus, would it have prevented this trajectory?  

I have never said the phrase, “I wish I would NOT have been more intentional about initiating with him/her?”  I don’t think I ever will.  The truth is that we all hope to move through each day with a deep connection to the Holy Spirit which allows us to lean in and be intentional with lost teens.  Our hope is that each of us would constantly be taking risks - extending ourselves into the lives of teens that are far from God.  

Today I was reminded that a lot is at stake.

One of my favorite things about Jesus was that He did everything with purpose.  He was always initiating with someone.  Today I want to be more like Jesus by learning to initiate with great eternal intentions.  How many teens do I see everyday, but I have not taken the risk to even initiate a relationship?  How many teens have I met here or there, but have never taken the next step to initiate relational depth by sharing life together?  How many good relationships do I have with teens, but have yet to initiate a deeper conversation about a relationship with Christ?  How many teens have I helped introduce to Christ, yet their lives are spinning out of control and I have not yet offered help.  

Father, help me and my fellow Campus Life directors live lives of deep purpose.  Might we take great risks of initiating on your behalf today!

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Colossians 4:5

*named changed for confidentiality

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