Do you remember the once popular Choose Your Own Adventure book series? (+250 million books sold.) Written in a format that allowed young readers to pick and choose the plot twists, kids could create a story to fit their own taste.
In many respects, our teenagers inhabit a “Choose Your Own God” world where they routinely pick and choose what they want their God to be like—a sort of “create-your-own-God-in-the-image-of-what-you-think-He-should-be-like” spirituality. The academic name for this is “moralistic therapeutic deism” (from Soul Searching by Christian Smith).
Learning About the God of the Bible
The consequences of this pick and choose mindset for our students? There are several:
- Who you understand God to be shapes your faith walk for decades. A distorted, non-Biblical view of the one, true God can create lifelong spiritual baggage that derails your students’ relationship with God and hijacks the abundant life Jesus offers. Without a balance of both grace and truth in their theological grid, things can get pretty messed up. Get out of kilter on the grace side, and we settle into a me-focused immaturity that leads down destructive paths. While all truth and no grace can turns us into legalists.
- Without a core theological grid, it’s difficult to introduce others to God. A basic Biblical understanding of the core truths about God, sin, salvation and the gospel build the confidence and competence that make for effective faith sharing.
- Your understanding of God impacts your sense of urgency for evangelism. For example, if you believe in a God who sends everyone to heaven, there’s no need to share the gospel.
An Antidote: Soul Fuel
At Dare 2 Share we have a free resource that will help you address these issues head on: Soul Fuel. This engaging, multi-purpose, online resource uses current music, movies, TV and trends to help teens get to know God better and develop an understanding of the core truths of Christianity. And it motivates and mobilizes them to share their faith with their friends so they can make disciples who make disciples.
How to Mine the Archives for All They’re Worth
And here’s a tactical tip for you that may save you in a pinch if you need a youth group lesson on a particular theological topic. You can easily mine the Soul Fuel archives by theological topic. On the archive roster, the theological question each article addresses is noted beside its title. Questions like:
- Who is God, and what is He like?
- Why does God allow evil in this world?
- Will God ever leave me or forsake me?
- What is truth and can I know it with certainty?
- Who am I, where did I come from, and what is my purpose?
Once you click any article that answers a particular theological question, the website pulls all the other articles on this same question and lists them out for you in the right navigation bar as “Related Soul Fuel Topics.” These links allow you to easily click on and explore a wide variety of curriculum options that deal with a given theological topic.
You may be thinking that the movies, music and TV shows featured in Soul Fuel get old and out of date, but between TV reruns and movies out on DVD, many of the older Soul Fuels hold their relevance for years. Plus, if you scroll down to the very bottom of the archive page, the first 50+ articles are entirely “evergreen,” because they aren’t built around a current trend or hot media release.
So join the thousands of youth leaders who use Soul Fuel as an engaging tool for THE Cause of making disciples who make disciples. Get it into the hands of your students, adult volunteers and parents. Pass it along to other youth leaders in your network. It’s a great multi-purpose tool—like one youth leader recently told us: “Soul Fuel helps me keep abreast of what is relevant to teens. I use it as a conversation starter tool, as a motivation for action for myself and also for teaching in a large group setting.”