Have you ever heard of a travel agent? I may be showing my age here but I remember the days when people who wanted to plan a spectacular vacation used a travel agent to book flights, hotel rooms, and provide all the information needed to make the trip go smoothly. (Today, of course, we can all hop on TripAdvisor, Travelocity, Priceline, etc. for all these things)
But here’s the problem with travel agents: when it comes time to leave, the travel agent stays at their office. They do not go on the trip. It is pretty much up to the traveler to find their way to their destination, see what they want to see and make their way back home safely. A travel agent’s influence stops with that pamphlet of information the traveler may or may not read.
Now, who has ever seen a travel guide? Travel guides are people who go with the traveler to their destination. They have been there before, know the way and are able to offer all kinds of insight about each location. Travel guides walk with the traveler every step of the way providing valuable information, which they have gleaned from their own personal experiences.
Every week, kids show up at our churches who are in desperate need of a travel guide through life. They are going places they have never been before and they need guidance, wisdom and comfort for their journey. For many of the situations they face, we as adults have already been there and have learned some pretty valuable lessons along the way. However, we often simply take on the role of a Bible teacher. Like travel agents, we believe that if we get them the right information about God’s Word, all will be well. The problem is, when we simply teach them the right information instead of opening up our lives to live the journey alongside them, we lose influence as soon as they walk out the door of our church.
So what if we approached teaching them as travel guides who go on the journey with them? What if they saw us live it out on a daily basis? What difference would it make?