When confronted with a soft truth or low expectations, where rejecting or accepting that truth requires no real life change, rejecting or accepting it costs little or nothing. If a young person is asked to never be caught speaking profanity, to be reasonably kind to others, and to attend church on Sunday, those will be easy enough demands that only a little motivation will give them what they need to comply.
It is the challenging and hard truths that separate the wheat from the chaff, the hot from the cold, and the salty from the bland. When faced with a truth that requires life, mind, and heart change, a person will either embrace it fully or reject it wholly.
That is the choice we offer our students, for those who have ears to hear. And we pray that they all hear.
You will read often in the Monday Memo about our Christ-centered community, but I want to tell you about a few of the specific opportunities that students have to hear Christ.
Discipleship: Many students choose to enter into one-to-one discipleship with staff members. In these weekly discipleship meetings, staff members help students think clearly and deeply about their walk with Christ and what it means to really follow Christ. They explore scripture, talk about how they can apply scripture to their lives, and how they can navigate struggles they are experiencing.
Small Groups: On Sundays, several staff members host groups in their home where they study spiritual growth, Christian disciplines, or an in-depth exploration of that Sunday morning’s sermon.
Student-Led Worship: On Friday or Saturday nights, students prepare a lesson or sermon, sing, and share testimonies. Guidance is provided by staff members to the student leaders, but this is done completely at the initiative of the students.
Through these and other programs, students are confronted with the reality of what Christian living means — that it is much more than a confession of faith, following rules of conduct, and basic courtesy toward others. They learn that Christ calls us to inside-out change in our way of thinking and responding to the world.
The impact of the Oakdale experience on students comes from the Oakdale staff and community confronting students in all areas of their lives so that they can learn the cost — and joy — of discipleship.