As the sun comes up today, teenagers around the country are meeting at the flag poles on their school campus to pray.
To pray for their peers, school, community, state, nation, and much much more. Would you pause for a moment to lift these teens up in prayer right now? They need boldness today. They need the presence of God today. They need the church supporting them as they are the missionaries on those campuses that we can never be.
There will be many opportunities to share why they met around that flag pole as the day goes on. May the name of Jesus be lifted high and prayers be answered!
Encourage your students to take their place around the flag pole and join a nation in prayer.
– NO! – You can be too boring. You can be a bad communicator. You can refuse to speak their language. But you cannot waste Truth. Theology is how we understand God. If you think someone is “too theological” you probably are reacting against individual characteristics of that person rather the desire to understand and know God.
Sometimes we think that teenagers don’t care about the things of God or they wont understand theology if they were taught it. Shame on us if we believe or propagate this lie. Teenagers today care deeply about spiritual things, they just have had little exposure to Truth! This generation is seeking something real. Why else is there the hunger for social justice we see in young adults if there was no understanding of right and wrong? Why is this generation so driven for purpose and meaning if there is no fulfillment for that desire in something bigger than ourselves?
I believe this generation is starving for good theology. They are hungry for real convictions. And, by the grace of God, when given the opportunity they will soak it up like a sponge. Yet, they can sniff out insincerity like a shark smells a drop of blood in the water. They refuse to play a game when it comes to matters of faith. They are looking: What will you offer them? What will you live out in front of them?
Don’t sell your teenagers short when it comes to theology. If they can do physics and calculus in their school settings, we know they can handle complicated issues when they put their minds to it. Why should it be any different in church? Teenagers will rise to the level of expectation you place on them. If you expect them to only appreciate pizza parties and 3 minute devotionals, that is probably what you will get. If you challenge them to dive into the richness of scripture you may just see a new side of your teenagers.
Last night at our student worship service I tested the limits of theology with teenagers. On the verge of summer break I taught on the “Supremacy of Christ over Your Summer”. We read over Colossians 1 and discussed who Christ truly is and how that applies to us right now. The kicker was this video I showed.
John Piper does a 18:53 minute talk on the doctrine of the Supremacy of Christ posted with a symphonic background by Brent Fischer. It planted new thoughts to grow in their mind. It painted a grand picture of Christ, one larger than we can fully comprehend. If you have not seen this video it will be 18 minutes and 53 seconds of well spent time. It will challenge you and give you perspective on the person of Christ.
Did Piper preach this for teens? Of course not. Can it inform and light a fire for teenagers? Yes! Because good theology provides the foundation for a passionate Christian life at any age.
Interesting lessons within this graphic…from my perspective:
Even after the admission of most teens being “addicted” to thier social media devices teens still prefer face to face contact. This tells me that no matter how many texts or FB messages I send, that personal contact is the only way to build deep meaningful relationships. The texts and other stuff can supplement that or be convenient, but without face to face time you will never get to really know a teenager.
Facebook is dominate. I think this is because of the combination of messages, photos/video uploads, status updates, and the infamous “like” button. Facebook has it all. But be warned, what you put on FB will be seen. No matter how deep in some obscure album that picture is, someone will comment on your behavior or associates. People do read into status updates and know what you have been saying on FB. Just as in all of life we must guard our integrity on FB and live in a way not to bring shame to ourselves and our God!
Teens (really, all of us) need a break from social media sometimes! We need to encourage teenagers (and ourselves) to unplug once in a while and spend some undistracted time alone. Preferably with God. Remember that verse, “be still and know that I am God”. It is getting harder and harder to be still in our media driven culture. Take some time everyday to reflect and unplug and allow yourself not to be a slave to social media, and encourage this in teens in your lives.
Social Media highlights the insecurities of some girls and adds pressure to be perfect. 57% of girls feel left out after seeing photos of friends without them, 45% of girls worry about others posting “ugly” pictures of them online, 28% of girls have edited photos of themselves before posting it online. These stats reinforce the truth that we need to guard our daughters hearts! While it is also true for the guys, it is crucial for the girls. We need to train them that they will only truly be satisfied in Jesus Christ and His love for them, everything else will fall short. We need to constantly be saying and living the fact that true beauty comes from within. We need to remind them that Psalms 139 says we were “fearfully and wonderfully made” in exactly the way God intended, and God doesn’t make mistakes! The Gospel tells girls (and everyone) that God loves us despite our imperfections and has made a way for us to have the one relationship that will truly satisfy us. The Gospel proves that we are priceless in the eyes of God! He sent His perfect Son as a sacrifice for us. And because of Jesus’ victory over death we can overcome all things!
These are the times we live in. We need to see our culture through the lens of the Gospel of Jesus, and social media is no exception. Social media is a great tool, but like any tool, it can be used to build up or tear down. I strive to be biblical in all that I do, even in how I interact with social media.