In November 2007 I invited my friend and counselor Steve Lynam to speak to our staff in our youth ministry. He shared some helpful thoughts while my friend Kendra took some wonderful notes. Here is the second Q & A.
What do you think teenagers really need… spiritually and beyond?
The obvious answer is that they need Jesus. Kids need people around them who help point them to Jesus. Teens at that stage of development, they’re struggling trying on different identities. They want to know they have a purpose in life and have a destiny. In Christ, we know they have an identity and a self-worth that’s beyond what they can imagine. They have a destiny in Christ. Parents are the ones, specifically fathers, who need to come alongside and be a voice of affirmation that kids have an identity. A lot of adults see teens as a problem. If you see kids as a problem, then you react to them and live in reaction to the problem and not in response to God toward the person. We need to develop a vision for their purpose. How do we do that? Ask God. Train up a child in the way they should go as a specific person; what did He have in mind when He created them? If we don’t ask God ourselves about who we are and who He has created us to be, we can begin to have God’s eyes to see others. 2 Cor.5:16 – We regard no one the way we used to see them; we are starting to see with the Spirit’s eyes and see people the way God sees them. Kids need to have a vision and have people who see them the way God does. Learning who they are in Christ and who they are to Jesus and because of Jesus is crucial. Kids are a unique expression of Jesus. We all are. If kids know that Christ is with them and in them, they know they have His mind, not their own. You notice people differently. You’re not thinking about what people are thinking about you but listening to what God is thinking about them. Think about God has in mind, and those thoughts changes things as simple as how to walk into a room. See kids according to how God sees them. Help them stand up in what God has in mind for them. It’s not about comparisons or appearances even though that’s what the world says. Live with the settled knowledge of who we are in Christ as unique expressions of God. They need to be loved, to be disciplined, to see a model of how their parents interact, to see how adults deal with struggles. Teens need to know what we need to know. Gal.5:6 – The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself in love. That’s what counts with kids.