We’re Teaching This:
Have you ever been overcome with awkwardness or embarrassment? Sometimes the whole idea of God can make us feel that way. We’re afraid of what God really thinks of us or how He will feel when we mess up. So we avoid going to church, praying, or getting closer to God to keep ourselves from feeling uncomfortable. And it kind of makes you wonder, Is this how following God is supposed to be? This week we’ll look back at some of the things Jesus shared in the book of John about who He is. As we do, we’ll realize that our relationship with Jesus doesn’t have to be shaped by embarrassment, judgment, or insecurity. In fact, because He is leading, guiding, and shepherding us, we can rest knowing that our lives are in good hands.
Just like your teenager is still developing physically and mentally, their belief system is still under construction as well. As a result, from time to time, they may say something surprising or something that conflicts with what you believe. Don’t freak out. While it’s appropriate to guide and direct your student to what’s best for them, sometimes there’s something better. Become a professional question asker— not nagger, lawyer, or annoyer—but someone who asks questions in order to better connect. Then patiently listen as they process through their own faith and beliefs.
Responding with curiosity toward your teenager will always go further than responding with defensiveness. Ask a question or two from the list below and see where the conversation goes. Remember, do more listening than teaching, and don’t take it personally if your child doesn’t exactly reflect your beliefs. Their belief system is growing and changing, and the ultimate goal is for them to develop a faith of their own.
We’re Teaching This:
How do you normally introduce yourself? Maybe you start with, “Hi. I’m (insert your name here).” But what comes after that? Sure, you can talk about where you go to school, or what hobbies you’re into, but that doesn’t really introduce anyone to you, just facts about you. When Jesus talked about Himself, He would make statements like, “I am the Good Shepherd” and, “I am the bread of life.” As strange as they sound, these statements give us a better picture of who Jesus is. Because if He is a shepherd, then we are His sheep. And if He is the bread of life, then we can be satisfied in Him. In this series, we’ll discover that the way Jesus described Himself, give us a clue into who we are as well.
Think About This:
Every family has a belief system. Even if your family isn’t particularly religious, chances are there are certain things that you believe about the world and certain values that you want to pass on to your children. It’s natural. And, as our students develop into adults, it’s normal for them to think about, question, and maybe even try on other beliefs they may have been exposed to outside our home. If it hasn’t happened already, there will probably come a day when your student makes a statement or asks a question that feels like it flies in the face of all you’ve taught them. And while it’s unsettling and uncomfortable for us, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, questioning can be good. It means they’re growing.
At moments like these, it’s important to remember that, just as our students’ bodies and minds are developing, their faith and beliefs are developing too. They may go through stages or seasons of faith that look different, but that doesn’t mean it is where they will ultimately land.
One way we can help our students navigate this tricky time is to be authentic about our own faith journey. Religious or not, we all have questions and doubts we wrestle with from time to time. We all have moments that leave us feeling a little confused or unsettled about our beliefs. And the same things that have helped us through those times may be helpful for our students as well.
Maybe it’s been a while since you really wrestled with a tough question about life or maybe you weren’t sure what to do with it. That’s okay. Here are four strategies you may find helpful when you don’t have all the answers.
The Great Commission and the Legacy of Jesus
This past Sunday night, we looked at the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20.
We spoke about Jesus' last instructions to His disciples to carry on His legacy here on earth, to "go and make disciples." We asked the questions "What do you want your legacy to be? What do you want to be remembered for?"
Here are two resources from Sunday night's lesson: