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February 25, 2009

How to help kids ’get it’

Kids.jpg A new BreakPoint column about young people and worldview, by John Stonestreet, executive director of Summit Ministries, contains some helpful insights that relate to the conversation Anne started yesterday.

I often hear students describe their experience of Christianity in these terms: “I’ve been a Christian my whole life, but I don’t really get it”; or, “I prayed the prayer when I was four, but I don’t think it stuck”; or, “I committed my life to Christ when I was 15, but I am not sure it stuck.” . . .

Often, our approaches to youth ministry sanctify adolescence. Whereas teenagers have the capacity—and thus, I would argue, the calling—to think deeply and broadly about their culture, confront evil and injustice, and champion the truth, they instead are encouraged in their adolescent narcissism. We present a neutered Gospel, only about them and their needs, lacking vision (Proverbs 29:18).

Read more here about why Christian kids aren't "getting it," and how we can help make sure they do.

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Comments

Mike D'Virgilio

I think most kids "don't get it" because their parents don't get it. Just because a kid goes to church or is involved in a youth group means nothing. The anti-intellectualism of the modern Church, which mirrors American culture, gives these kids no foundation for their faith. Their parents are influenced by this same milieu.

I have three kids, two teenagers, and we are always talking about the rationale for not only their faith but for everything. The Christian worldview simply makes more sense than anything else, and they "get it."

David

I often wonder how/why some posts draw a lot of attention and others just fade away with nary a comment. This is an important topic. Mike's comment is right on; too many parents don't get it. They just want someone else to "give it" to their kids - through youth group, mission trips, etc. The kids end up with the tee shirt, but not the "it" that they really need. Churches need more adult groups!

Jason Taylor

What do they mean by "get it"? It seems to me that a lot of the fault lies in the fact that what might be called Evangelical "liturgy"(for want of a better word) is largely about the display of pious emotion. Which can disconcert those who do not in fact feel said response in themselves. If not well-counseled a young Christian can come to believe it is a punishment for insufficiently intense piety rather then merely a misfortune. This can be reinforced by the fact that one can always find some fault if one looks hard enough and is inclined toward such things.

David

Jason,
The article that Gina linked to, from Summit Ministries, addresses that point. The "it" that kids need (that we all need) is a complete Christian worldview rather than random emotional/spiritual experiences. The article is well worth the time it takes to read. (Thanks Gina.)

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