Monthly Archives: April 2016
Maybe, just maybe, part of the reason teenagers leave the church is because grownups assume they’re all bad and accuse them of misbehavior on a regular basis. Would you want to go to a place where people stereotype you? Isn’t it supposed to be the place where everyone is accepted? What if the teen actually is a bad kid—how is scolding them going to help? And if they’re not a bad kid or doing anything wrong, how does it encourage them to continue on a good path if they’re lumped with the rest? Is this the “Church” Jesus founded?
Here’s an idea: if you’re concerned about teenagers’ behavior, talk TO them—not AT them.
You just might find out that they are honors student-athletes, who have attended “your” church for over a decade, have been saved for more years than that, have been baptized (in water & the Holy Spirit) and are just on their phones because they’re waiting on their parents to wrap up one ministry before moving to the next—so they do, in fact, have a good reason for being in the hall.
Or you might find out that they have come to church without their parents because they need somewhere to feel accepted.
They might even need you to lead them to Jesus—instead of the exit.
Contrary to popular belief, teenagers don’t need loud music, flashy lights, and advanced technology to come to church. What they do need is: sincerity, the truth of the Word (not feel-good, surface-level soundbites), to feel wanted when they are there, and to feel missed when they aren’t. Not so different than any of the rest of us, huh?
“But Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children'” (Matt 19:14, NLT).
I’m of the opinion that this applies to teenagers too, so let’s stop fussing at and about them, and let them come to us. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll stay with us.