Children typically only rise as far as you expect them to. Rarely does a student exceed the expectations of the leaders in their life. I’ve learned,
“Expect Little, Get Little; Expect Much, Get Much.”
Many children have a low opinion of themselves, but if you think more of them than they think of themselves, you can have the power to help lift them to the next level on their Christian journey!
As a young boy, one of my teachers, Helen Reed, gave me a passion for Scripture memory. I still remember hearing, “I think you can do it,” whispered in my ear as I worked to memorize the Bible verses she provided. Her consistent encouragement pushed me to accomplish much!
I would have never memorized all of those verses, nor would I have the grasp of Scripture I have today, if it wasn’t for her faithful challenging. When it came to Scripture memory, I knew that was an area of strength, so did I no longer need challenging?
Far from it! We moved and I got a new church teacher. Mr. Ralph could have just complimented me on my knowledge of Scripture, but instead he commented, “I’ll be impressed when you memorize an entire book.” In a few months, I had memorized the book of James, and it did have a profound effect on my spiritual growth.
We need to expect more of our students and challenge them to the next level in their spiritual walk. Scripture memory is just one area. There are many other arenas worth challenging. We can challenge students to share Jesus with a friend, to step up and serve, to obey their parents, reconcile with a friend, forgive someone who hurt them, or to take on a challenging project.
There have been many times in my life when God has brought a leader into my life to challenge me. They expected more of me than I expected of myself, and with renewed confidence I took action steps of faith that I otherwise wouldn’t have. YOU can be that person in the lives of those you teach!
Prayerfully consider how you can challenge your students, both as a group and individually. God may have placed you in their life specifically to prod them toward His will for their life! What an awesome and humbling responsibility! Do it with gentleness, but firmness; with sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading, but with boldness. Dare them to go where they have never gone before. That is what truly brings excitement to the Christian life!