When I first become a high school youth leader many years ago, I specifically remember being compelled by the Holy Spirit to tell my teens I knew they were much smarter than many adults gave them credit for, that I believed they were facing important issues and decisions that would shape them and their lives, and most importantly that they mattered to me and to the Lord. I have never forgotten this wisdom.
Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
This is both an affirmation for our teens as well as a high calling to a godly life.
You may be surprised how simple it actually is to study the Bible with your teen(s). It is simple because it is the Lord’s desire to open the minds of those who have ears to hear and to understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45, Luke 8:10) In our finite minds and our knowing that we are not Bible scholars, we may feel that we are not qualified to study the Word of God with others. “What if they ask a difficult question and I don’t know the answer?” Have those thoughts and then push them aside. Be a willing vessel for the Lord to speak to and through.
I recently asked my teenage boys, separately, if they would be interested in going to a local Starbucks for a treat and to read the Bible with me. Honestly, a part of me was fearful that they might say no and my feelings might be hurt, but without hesitation both said yes. I invited them to go somewhere outside our home because there are six of us in our home and that leads to many distractions. It also allows for special one on one time with my son(s).
Realize that our teens have already been in school for approximately a decade. In school (whether home, private or public) they are asked to draw conclusions and have opinions regarding literature, theorems, concepts, and formulas. Who is asking them to look into the most precious resource we have, the Holy Bible, and draw some conclusions and opinions? Why not you?
Put your ideas aside about what getting Jesus into your teen needs to look like, and simply make an invitation and carve out some time for the teen(s) in your life. Prayerfully chose a few books from the Bible that you will discuss. Now that you have a date and time, show up. Order your treat, sit down and then ask him/her to choose which of those books they would like to learn from with you. Pray with them briefly asking the Lord to be present as you read His word and invite him to open both of your minds to understand what He has for you. Now, read out loud the chapter you have decided upon. If your teen is hesitant, do the reading yourself. Be willing and ready to be both the teacher and the student. Begin to share what you think the Lord is showing you and ask him/her to do the same. Be ready to be blessed and surprised at the insight you may glean from the young one across the table from you. Be sure you listen more than you speak. Our kids are talked at all day long. Don’t talk at them here, but talk with them. Engage them in conversation and validate them as a fellow student of God’s word.
Stay tuned to hear more from Erin in the coming week.