Discipleship: Are You Raising Up Students or Activists?

Paul was an activist. He was always doing something about what he believed — whether that was combating the spread of the followers of The Way or (after his conversion) spreading that same message himself.

Paul was a doer. He was always doing something: writing, teaching, preaching, building up young leaders, arguing with the older ones, or working. Wherever he went, he saw what needed to be done, and he did it with fairly little regard for how the boat got rocked because of him.

Paul knew his beliefs were a cause big enough to do something about.

That kind of life could be dangerous (he knew that better than anyone),
but he didn’t know any other way. In his letters, you see him time and again teaching people to be active — and not just teaching them. Take care of the widows and orphans, give more, live a life worthy of the calling…

Seth Barnes wrote an interesting article the other day on his blog about activism. Here is an excerpt:

Jesus was an activist. He stirred things up. He made people mad. He
took on the existing social order. Following him was often a stressful
Which raises the question: Are you more of an activist or a
student?  The word “activist
acquired some odd connotations in the 60’s.  People correlated activism
to hippies organizing campus sit-ins. 
But true activists are rare; most people are more cautious by
nature. Trying to change the existing social order can be painful.
At the same time, insofar as activists are about addressing
injustice, we need more of them.  We need people who recognize that
controversy is a necessary by-product of their efforts. (Read the full post: We Need More Activists)

Question: In your youth ministry, are you raising up students or activists?

Students study, activists act. Both are necessary (didn’t Mom always tell you to think first? I always heard that, anyway). Studying is good — but actions should follow. Are we encouraging enough people to become activists, giving them the tools to create social change, and then setting them loose?