Matt Clinton of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is a great teacher. He effectively shows kids in practical ways how society is taking God’s original plans SO out of context. This week, we continue our ongoing conversation with Matt regarding today’s teens, the pressures they are up against, and the hard truths about sex in our society.
Matt Clinton, Fellowship of Christian Athletes: Ultimately, we’ve taken something created for so much good and made it all about us. The hard truth is that by making sex so casual, it also makes us selfish. Sex becomes based on solely the physical outcome and your pleasure.
Yet, God’s plan is so far different than that.
Yes, sex is amazing… but it is so much more than the physical, when it’s approached within God’s plans for it. But, this is so difficult to communicate to someone who isn’t married – like the kids we work with every day. So, one nice thing is that the stats back this up. Therefore, we could even take the “God card” out of our discussion and simply talk about what marital intimacy is like, and the difference between sex within marriage and hooking up. Luckily – or unluckily, depending on your perspective – this is a daily discussion we have. And, unlike most adults, we are willing to have it with the high schoolers we meet.
Not everyone wants to talk about it, but we are willing, able, and eager to bring it into the light.
Leslie Salazar Carrillo, Im Waiting: Teenage guys have it tough. I get that, stereotypically, men are made to see the mountain and take the mountain… it’s what makes you great soldiers. But that doesn’t mean that doing the right thing is sacrificed. Many of the guys we meet want to be good guys – even those who have not chosen to follow Jesus still want to be good people.
But nobody has ever shown them how.
So many of these guys are growing up without a healthy male role model. Nobody is showing them how to behave rightly and make right decisions.
Sure, their mom may be working two or three jobs, just trying to hold things together. But, what is really needed is a man teaching these boys how to be good, responsible young men.
Matt: And even when there are good people setting examples for kids, there is a real difference between good people and people who are teaching kids how to lead.
Anyone who has played organized sports can look back and say, “Oh yeah… that coach was AWEFUL! But, THAT coach was AWESOME!!” So, what’s the difference? Some of it may be tactical, but most of the time, it boils down to how you are treated. These tend to be the building blocks of leadership and of teaching leadership.
Personally, I’ve had a ton of positive influences in my life – many of whom follow Jesus with all their heart, soul and mind – but I wish they would have pushed me more. Sometimes it takes a little kick in the butt to get guys moving in the right direction.
So, today, I meet one kid after another that are a lot like I was… they need to be led and pushed. And not just so that they could lead others, but for their own benefit. They’ve heard God’s truth, but they aren’t really listening. They aren’t applying God’s Word in their lives.
This makes me so thankful to God that I get to be a part of these kids’ lives for this short time. But then I start to wonder… how many more are just like these guys?
I mean, I know that I’m nobody special… I’ve just been given an opportunity to step in. But, I’m only stepping into the lives a few kids, when there are thousands just in my area alone!
So, if we can get coaches on board, or small group volunteers, or teachers to have these conversations with the kids… then we could make an even larger impact!
But, the truth is that we are so small in number. Jesus was so accurate when He said:
“The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”
We need to provide opportunities for them – opportunities to learn, to grow, and to face their issues alongside someone instead of on their own.
Leslie: A mutual friend of ours, Rick Garza, has an amazing life story. He shows kids God’s truth every time he speaks to them… and the kids are just drawn to him. Especially the ones who tend to wake up each morning without hope. So many of these kids in particular are yearning for truth! They want to see how their lives can be different than the examples that they’ve seen from generation to generation.
Matt needed good examples while he was growing up. So, today, he is standing in that gap as a leader to the teens he works with. He is realizing just how big the mission is, but how few workers there really are.
Be sure to tune in next time, as we hear about how parents can be influential, too.