This is for the teenagers in your community.
The ones whose families have been hurt by churches so much that they won’t (or can’t) go back.
The ones whose very identities make them afraid they'll be reduced to an “issue” that needs to be solved.
The ones who see the difference between how Jesus lived and how Christians today live.
May God give us the courage to show up in their lives… And to keep showing up so that they come to trust us… And through us, God.
This is for the teenagers in your community of faith.
The ones who strive for perfection.
The ones who think they can earn our love… And maybe even God’s.
The ones who fear their imperfections make them unworthy in the eyes of God.
May God give us the strength to vulnerably show them our imperfections, to model growth in ways that remind them that faith is a life-long journey.
This is for the teenagers in your youth ministry.
The ones who can’t sit still and who rarely seem to pay attention.
The ones who challenge everything you do and say.
The ones who dare to ask the unanswerable questions.
May God give us the wisdom to teach for transformation, to engage them in ways that will enable them to know what they believe and why.
This is for the teenagers you know…And the ones you don’t.
The ones who never come to youth group, but always show up to serve others.
The ones who spot injustice a mile away and speak out, even when it costs them.
The ones who long for a faith that isn’t just about what they know, but how they live.
May God give us the energy to practice together, to help them develop a muscle memory of what it means to live out their faith beyond youth group.
This is for the teenagers who are struggling.
The ones whose sensitivity causes them to regularly cry over the news headlines.
The ones who are anxious, depressed, or stressed to the max.
The ones who search for God in everything, but struggle to see God’s fingerprints in anything.
May God give us words that will help them make meaning out of their experiences and integrate their faith into their daily lives.
This is for the times we’ve tried… And failed.
This is for the times we’ve tried… And succeeded.
This is for the times we’ve felt burned out… And energized.
This is for the times we’ve felt passionate about our call and the times our passion has waned.
In all the times, may God give us the faithfulness to continue nourishing a faith that matters, a faith that extends far beyond youth group.
My new book, Faith Beyond Youth Group, co-authored with Kara Powell and Brad Griffin releases today. It's based on 20 years of research and establishes a new discipleship framework to form character & lifelong discipleship.
- 12 Books You Should Read
- A blessing for youth leaders nurturing faith beyond youth group
- 8 ways to help mission teams conclude more than “poor people are happy”
- The fantasy youth ministry candidate
- What students need most when they’re stuck spiritually
- The tearing of the curtain
- How do you not hate them?
- Messy Ashes
- What it means to be a Bradbury
- The (false) unity of 9-12