A Breath of Fresh Air

Glimpse the Living God.

Location: Virginia, United States

Friday, July 15, 2005

Somewhat disjointed thoughts about Teens

1Timothy 4:12
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

Last night, I had the amazing pleasure to attend a meeting of the first youth group of our newly planted church. The kids, ranging from middleschool age to High School age presented their ideas of what they want their youth group to be. They informed us of already existing areas in the church that they would like to participate in. The areas were:
Greeting/handing out bulletins, participating in drama and music, running the lights, sound board, and powerpoint presentations. They also presented a video that outlined some of the fun activities that they would like to do together. Things like camping, going to concerts, conferences, water parks, miniature golf, etc. The adults and the kids interacted throughout the entire program and there was a definite sense of unity. The kids were on fire for the Lord and for the start of their new group.

What I noticed last night above all (that was dramatically lacking in my youth group) was that the adults truly believe in these kids. They are not there to micromanage them, or to pound them into carbon copies of what they think a Christian should be. They are dedicated to the Lord and to the Bible, and they are there simply to guide these kids, stand back, and watch the amazing things that they will do for the glory of God.

There is a gender gap where adults have the tendency to try to provide for the next generation everything that they wish they had growing up. However, that is not good enough. The kids of today do not want or need what we wish we had 15+ years ago. Our duty as adults is to dialogue with these kids and find out what their heartbeat is. What do they wish they had? What do they need? We should not assume they will want exactly what we wanted. We should also not assume that if we had gotten everything we wanted, that we would have been happy.

When driving a car, we don't jerk the wheel around every time we veer slightly off course. We sit back, let the car go where it needs to go, and make slight corrections as necessary. Yet, when teenagers come up with unconventional ideas, we automatically reach for the wheel - for their own good, so that they don't screw up their lives, so that they don't have to suffer the pain of failure - or some other ridiculously "good reason". Hang on - it's just a slight veer, and it may not even be off course! If they do end up in the ditch - we have insurance, and they've learned a valuable life lesson.

The kids that I met last night are passionate about life, God, and their futures. Right now, they can either be built up, or torn down. We can pour life into them, or suck life out of them. We can encourage them, of deflate them. As adults, are we going to sit them down, teach them about their wings, how they work, all the safety precautions to take, what to do in case of an emergency, and our fears about actually using them. Or, are we going to say, "I'm here if you need me," and then stand back and let them fly?


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