Fight the urge to be something you’re not.
We now live in the land of skinny jeans and flannel and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact I love flannel…not so much skinny jeans (because I’m not skinny). I think if I were skinny I would still wear Levis 508s (if they’re on sale) because I just like them. I’ve actually been waiting on fashion to catch up with me. Well that’s not true, because I’ve never really been that fashionable, just ask my wife. She met me when I was wearing pleated khaki’s and big shirts from Abercrombie and she still married me (she has no one to blame but herself).
The fact is this…I’ve always tried to be who I am no matter what. Students still make fun of what I wear (that probably won’t change), but that doesn’t really bother me because I’m still being true to who God is making me to be and I’m positive students see that. I hope they see that I am trying my best to be authentic in a world filled with masks.
Dear student pastor…don’t try to be something you’re not just to fit in with the culture of your students…It won’t make them listen to you more! If you’re a khaki’s and polo kind of guy…rock it. If you are really an Instagram full of coffee and Bibles kind of guy, then go be caffeinated and well read with the best of ’em. But don’t go do these things in order to impress your students, all-the-while allowing inauthenticity to run rampant.
Student ministries are filled with students not striving for authenticity in their relationships with others or with God, and I can’t help but believe that a lot of that is our fault, because we aren’t being true to who God is creating us to be.
It’s ok to be you. It’s ok to listen to Petra in your office. It’s ok to not fit in a culture that is not your culture. It’s not ok to be someone you’re not while trying to lead students to an authentic relationship with Christ.
After 15 years in this game, I’ve learned that students love people who are real with them. And they’re ok with us being nerds and weird, because they’re just as weird in they’re own way.
Enjoy being you with your students today!