Updated: Mar 30, 2020
We want to talk to our teens about God, but we don’t always know how. We desperately want them to cherish the same faith in Jesus Christ that we do, but we suspect that maybe they don’t. We know it’s our responsibility (even our privilege) to disciple our children but that just seems so challenging - so time consuming. Where do we even begin?
Can you relate to any of that? If so, take a breath - it’s going to be ok. You don’t have to have all the answers - you don’t even have to know what all the questions are, but let me encourage you to dive in and begin talking to your teenager about his or her faith in Christ. To help you do that, here are three questions you can ask yourself before you engage your teenager in this conversation…
01. AM I A DISCIPLE?
Pastor A. W. Tozer was once quoted as saying, “Only a disciple can make a disciple.” Do you believe that? I think I do - in fact, I know I do. How can any of us hope to make a disciple of anyone - especially our own teenagers - if we are not already a disciple of Jesus ourselves. So, before we enter in to a conversation with our kids about God, it really does make a whole lot of sense to ask ourselves the personal, reflection question, “Am I disciple?” If so, great - its on to question two. But . . . if you think that perhaps you are not really a disciple of Christ (don’t worry, that’s certainly common), it is easy to quickly and easily turn that ship around. Start becoming the follower of Christ you hope you teenager will become - for their benefit - and for yours.
02. WHAT INFLUENCES IN MY TEENAGERS LIFE ARE MOIVNG HIM / HER CLOSER TO GOD?
Influence is everywhere! Our teenagers are heavily influenced by school, work, friends, church, youth group, sports, parents, family, social media, TV, movies, video games, books, magazines and on and on an on. Have you ever considered taking a Spiritual Influence Inventory of your teenager? Have you ever sat down and listed all the positive influences in his / her life that are drawing your teen closer to Christ? What about the influences that may be pulling them away? Look at the list you have created. What may need to change? Do they need more Godly influences? Fewer worldly influences? Would your teen be wiling to discuss this with you - would they be willing to even make some changes to make sure they are being influenced for God? Something to think about.
03. WHAT IS IN MY TEENAGERS PAST THAT MIGHT BE KEEPING HIM / HER FROM FULLY EMBRACING GOD? As we think about this question, it become so relevant to our adopted and foster teenagers especially. In almost 100% of all cases, teenagers who have been adopted or who currently live in foster care have gone through trauma as a result of the loss of one or more biological parent. This loss could have happened through death or abandonment, or through the removal of the child from the birth home. They have to deal with this loss. And in many cases, beyond simply loss, they have to deal with trauma as a result of abuse, neglect, abandonment and a host of other horrible things no child should ever have to experience. So what do you know about your adopted or foster teenagers’s past? What loss or trauma have they experienced that may be keeping them from truly believing the good new of Jesus Christ? How can you help them process their past as you share with them the amazing future they can have in Christ?
What a great privilege we have - what a great responsibility we have - the discipleship of our kids. Don’t be afraid to regularly engage them in conversations about God and the Gospel. You might be surprised how receptive they are to you.
by Arthur C Woods