Driver's Ed, but with Jesus

Do you remember first learning how to drive? Dad or mom sitting in the passenger seat
spouting directions, strenuously holding onto the emergency handle while they bite their
tongue. The anxious and nervous tension of learning something new that would impact your
future so greatly. Some people learned this way, others took Driver’s Ed. Really, Driver’s Ed is a
discipleship model. Teach lessons and then practically put them into practice without putting
the learner into too much danger.

Life used to work this way about many things. As adults we would train and teach the younger
generation how to do things properly. From building fires and plowing fields to the more
relatable things like driving a car and how to make phone calls. Natural order of education is
older to younger, and yet in the more recent years we’ve seen this shift when it comes to social
media and technology. As technology continues to advance rapidly, we find children and teens
adapting and parents and adults struggling to keep up. This flip has caught us off guard and we
find ourselves often frustrated or even negligent.

I work with all Gen Z (born 1997-2012) students. I’ve been working with them for the last seven
years. And I can tell you that even though it may seem it, they desire to learn and grow from
the generations that have come before them, from you. Of course, I’m not talking about
driving, what I’m talking about is teaching this generation how to walk with Jesus.

I see a longing in students for those who have come before them to invest, love, teach, and
mentor them. Now this longing can sometimes be hidden beneath a shell of laziness and
disrespect. Which is incredibly frustrating, but as I’ve walked with students, I’ve learned that
clout matters. Just telling a student how to do something doesn’t necessarily work anymore
(boy I wish it was that easy). It takes investing, patience, humility, compassion, and consistency
in order to work my way to a place of having a voice at the table in that students’ heart.

For some reason we’ve begun to think that this Gen Z should know how to walk with Jesus as if
we were throwing them in a car and expecting them to know how it works, how to handle it,
and how to reach their destination without great catastrophe.

What if we all began to gently instruct, ride along, give encouragement and feedback, and
sometimes have our foot ready on that emergency break to keep our students out of the
danger we see them heading towards. I encourage you, quit expecting them to know how to do
it, quit always making them ride shotgun, get in the passenger seat and help them learn how to
do it so one day they find freedom in their own walk with Jesus. They will rarely be the ones to
seek you out, but if you invest, years from now they will know that you walked alongside them
and loved them.

In Him,
Pastor Ben