In the past few weeks I have been reminded of my mission and urgency to teach sound biblical doctrine to teenagers. This reminder didn’t come to me in the form of a Sunday morning sermon, the latest youth ministry article or website. No…the reminder came from none other then “teenagers.”
It all began a few nights ago when I spent two hours listening to, encouraging, and praying with a teen struggling with their faith. Their biggest question of the night; “How can I study the Bible and understand it when there is no one to show me how to study the Bible?” They shared with me their struggle with finding the “right” youth ministry to join. In recent months she has visited two different church youth groups only to leave discouraged as she felt the lessons either had no “real” application for her life or consisted of “dumb-downed” lessons. During the course of our conversation, her talking and me listening, she asked; “don’t youth leaders realize we need to be taught the bible and how to live our faith, not childish object lessons or quick 20 minute lessons with no clear direction?”
Over the course of this week I have had several conversations like the one I had with teenagers all sharing the same frustrations and concerns. One even added they felt their youth group has turned into a social club, and that many of their peers are “walking away” from their faith, giving in to sin and following their unsaved friends. Ask the average church going teen basic questions about Christianity ie…, what is sin and how does it impact my life and my relationships with others, why does God allow evil in the world, or how do I defend my faith, and many can’t give an answer.
These teens along with many others are struggling and hurting. They want and need to be preached to, not given “dumb-downed” lessons with no application. We need to work together with urgency in our mission to equip our teens to understand God’s Word and apply it to their life.
When a teenager is crying out to be taught the Bible, then something is seriously missing. Youth workers, parents (myself)…can I have your (our) attention? Are we growing deep in our faith by spending time with God and reading the bible? Or are we relying on those quick two-minute emailed devotionals in between multitasking to get us through our day? If you are spoon feeding yourself “dumb-downed” devotionals instead of the solid meat of the Word of God, then that’s exactly what you’ll be feeding your teenagers.
If we want to see our students sharing their faith then let’s feed them solid food. As they dig deeper they will be more equipped to share their faith. The more they share their faith the more they will dig deeper into God’s Word, feed on solid food and have a healthy balance of evangelism and discipleship in their daily life.
My prayer is that in my own ministry I never give into “dumb-down” devotionals that produce “dumb-downed” lessons, and that I continue to teach only one curriculum and follow only one standard, the Bible!
How and what do you do to prepare each week to teach your students? How do you prepare your own heart?