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Archive for December 1st, 2016

I LOVE working in the environment of teens. This is my fourteenth year working with teens in Christian schools. This is also the first year (after about a twenty-five year hiatus) that I have been assisting in a church youth group. Did I mention that I LOVE working in the environment of teens?

Teens are teens, though there are trends that come and go, teens themselves are, at their core, very similar throughout the years. They are exploratory, curious, questioning, idealistic, fun-loving, confused, stressed with thoughts of the future, and more.

In recent years I have been noticing something about teens, who have grown up in Christian homes, that has me scratching my head.

They don’t want to identify as Christians.

They may say that they believe in God, and even in Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They may believe in the value of prayer, and even go to church every week. They may go to youth group and help in Sunday School.

But, they aren’t sure what, or if, they believe.

Teens today are different from generations in the past in that anxiety, depression, social media pressures and bullying, along with the constant exposure to unreal reality (in TV shows and on the covers of magazines) create instability in their present to the point that they cannot fathom the future.

In a sense they have had their feet knocked out from underneath of them, and they do not have the confidence of where it safe to stand.

This has had me on my knees frequently, for the teens that surround me in my life.

Then, coming home from work this week I heard the words to the song Believe by Mumford and Sons:

“I don’t even know if I believe 
Everything you’re trying to say to me

So open up my eyes
Tell me I’m alive
This is never gonna go our way
If I’m gonna have to guess what’s on your mind

Say something, say something,
Something like you love me”

As I heard the lyrics (above) I started to see teens I know say those words to me. It was as if they were telling me, themselves, what they need (foundationaly) for their own belief.

“So open up my eyes
Tell me I’m alive”

Maybe, instead of telling them what to believe, they need us to show them who to believe, and why. God is not a wishy washy possibility, he is a good father who loves his children, who he created. Teens need to be reminded that they are fully alive, with full possibility and promise.They need to be reminded that that the breath of life is in them, just as tides come in and go out from shore, life is about rhythms, and they are part of the rhythm of the created world.

This is never gonna go our way
If I’m gonna have to guess what’s on your mind

We need to speak to them. We need to tell them of the stories of love, of justice, of redemption. We need to give them hope. Sometime hope can come from a smile, but it is even stronger when it comes from a conversation.

Say something, say something,
Something like you love me

Teens need to hear

I love you.

I like you.

I heard someone say once, if you want to change a teenager’s behaviour, you have to convince them that you like (love) them.

Maybe what teens today need most is for people who proclaim love for Christ to proclaim love for them … in words, in deeds.

believe

“My commandment is this–to love one another just as I have loved you.”
John 15:12

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