I started reading through A Simplified Harmony of the Gospels by George W. Knight for several months in my quiet times. On a recent trip to Peru, a friend and I read brief passages with notes over breakfast each morning. We happened to be focused on the trial, crucifixion, and burial of Jesus. On the day we read about Jesus calling out, “It is finished,” and giving up His Spirit, I couldn’t help but stop and allow a few tears to run down my face. I know, teenagers today are hesitant to accept on narrative that defines their lives. They dance between a world that calls them to fulfill all their desires and dreams, and a faith that calls them to a life of restraint and even sacrifice.

I recently read that Christian teenagers are more likely to have had sexual experience than their non-believing peers. If true, that goes against much of what we have found previously, but it also would bear witness to the fact that teenagers are at least as entranced with the sensual world as other Christians.

We attempt to win students with a lot of different things: slick programs, well-constructed messages, engaging worship. Nothing wrong with that . . . except that I think the thing teenagers need is a long, capturing gaze at Christ.  Jesus is the center-point of all history, the climax of the story of humanity, the full revelation of God to His world. Sure, teach students the problems of sex outside of marriage, but help them to see it in the context of the story . . . that Jesus wants to bring healing to all of our brokenness, to all of our thread-bear relationships. Yes, students need to understand the atonement, but not as a theological idea–as a flesh-and-bones person.

If Jesus doesn’t seem enough for us as we teach our students, perhaps it is because we need a deeper gaze at Him ourselves. This week, praying that God will make His Son passionately known by this generation of young people.

Category : Teaching


Josh August 17, 2012

Just wanted to say thanks for the encouragement. I wholeheartedly agree. I am definitely in need of a constantly greater vision of Jesus and his greatness. I know that my job is to point my youth and their families to Jesus. It’s nice to hear your words and know that I am on the right track in youth ministry.

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