Tonight I am meeting with the leaders of our Church youth group to make the final plans for our weekly program. It kicks off in a week, and I am excited to start meeting with our young people and shaping their lives for Jesus.
Through the years, I have watched one student after another walk through the youth programs under my care. In that time, I have noticed three things every teenager needs for their spiritual growth.
- Older to Younger teaching. Each child needs the instruction that comes with age. I try to gather around myself youth sponsors and leaders who have a love for Jesus, knowledge of the scripture, and enough life experience to help our teens.
- Peer to Peer Encouragement. These young adults need to see that other people believe the same things they do. They need Christian friends who can walk beside them on their journey.
- Influence Over Someone Else. The older teens need to help lead the younger students to grow in faith. They need to see their life as having an impact just by their presence.
In my experience, the last one of these is the hardest for our youth to understand. It pains me as students come through the program and then quit their senior year. When asked, they will tell me they are too busy. When pressed harder on the issue, I will usually get the same response, “There is nothing much in it for me.” I am then greeted by a blank stare when I ask them, “Who told you that the group was all about you?”
The journey from being a new journey high student to a graduating senior is a long one. It twists and turns and requires guidance. Sometimes our kids will need to receive it, and other times they will need to give it. All aspects are essential in developing a complete and mature follower of Jesus.