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April 24, 2014 / BTM

What Christian Teens Want to Know About Their Faith

questions teens haveI love it when Christian leaders think outside the box to teach and engage kids in the Christian faith.  I recently read a post from the Christian Apologetics Alliance on how youth pastors are going about teaching apologetics to their youth groups.  Their audiences are mainly teens.  They are being so creative.  Here’s a summary of what they said teens wanted and needed to know more about.  Its a good heads up as parents to make sure our kids are learning these topics as well.

Ask anything sessions.  Kids have questions and they want answers.  Some want the chance to ask them anonymously, some are okay voicing their questions in front of a crowd.  Ask anything sessions are really popular with youth. and are, obviously, really relevant to their interests!

Treat them like adults.  Youth workers talk about how teens wanted to learn difficult material and be treated like adults.  One youth group asked their youth pastor if they could cut the games short so that they could spend more time learning the apologetics material that he was teaching them.  The information that apologetics gave them was more valuable than their fun time!

The problem of evil.  Every teen needs to know an answer to this question.  Teens are at a place in life where they are seeking to understand who they are and what role they can play in the world.  They crave significance, but the challenge of a good God in the face of so much evil and pain difficult for them to reconcile.

Scenarios.  Teens like interaction and it better prepares them to use the material you are teaching.   You can find all kinds of scenarios on YouTube (or use movies, commercials, or invent scenarios through role playing) that you can use to help teens understand key concepts.  Play YouTube clips and ask teens how they would respond to certain ideas, allegations or arguments.

Critical thinking skills.  A lot of bad theology and bad beliefs are the result of bad thinking.  Teens who learn what makes a good argument from a bad one will be much better off in life.

Science and faith.  Kids are inundated with science that has disproven God in society and school.  Almost no one hears about the fatal flaws in the theory of evolution.

How to Present Their Faith in a Compelling Way.  When you start to learn why your faith makes sense and why other alternatives don’t, and you have some good answers to key questions like evil and suffering, other religions and science, you can begin to speak about your faith in a way that is compelling in today’s culture.

Systematic theology.  Going to church week after week and expository or theme based sermons does not provide an overarching understanding of Christian theology.  I am more and more convinced that most people our churches do not have a foundation in the theological underpinnings of their faith.  This greatly hurts our churches, and our youth who are the church of the future.

What Can You Do If Your Youth Pastor Isn’t Teaching This Kind of Information?

If your youth pastor isn’t doing this at church, encourage him or her to begin.  Offer to teach some sessions.  A bare minimum, make sure you are teaching them at home.  There are a lot of great resources that could get you started fairly easily, here are some:

Are you already doing this with your kids?  Do you have a plan to go through this kind of information with your kids to prepare them to launch into adulthood with a solid and effective faith?  If not, start now, even small steps can have a great impact!

Photo credit: Microsoft

 

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