Big Hare, Big Faith: Your student can have BIG faith
When it comes to teens and church, it can become easy to have “group think.” Who are we kidding? It is easy as an adult to do that! In reality, the heart of most parents is to be intentional. Parents are intentional about just about everything. They are intentional about making sure students have the best coaches that will help them get that scholarship, getting their student in teachers' classes that teach to their learning style, prepare food that will give them fuel and help their legs grow strong. All of those just scratch the surface at the intentionality of parent. How much more intentional should parents be about the spiritual growth of their student?
If our intention is to raise men and women of God, then we need to make sure their souls are getting the care and direction to end up as men and women of God, NOT children of God in men and women’s bodies. Men and women of God don’t happen by accident — they are developed!
Game plans are often made to help students grow in school, athletics and arts. Here are a few suggestions to add to your game plan on helping your student have BIG faith.
In your home consider praying and reading scripture together before even getting to school or leaving the house. I know, you can come up with excuses if you like about everyone leaving at different times or whatever you want. It needs to be a priority at home. You want God in your home, students’ lives, and marriage. The only way that will happen is if you acknowledge Him! It doesn’t have to be long and drawn out every morning. It can be a simple blessing over your student as they walk out the door from scripture.
Here’s an example blessing and prayer taken from Psalm 91:4, “May the Lord cover you and shelter you with His feathers, and under His wings may you take refuge, find truth and be protected physically, spiritually and emotionally.” A blessing like this can shift their worried heart about the day into focus on who covers them, and it is the Lord. Students see this as an example that God is important to you and your family.
The only way our students will ever stay connected to God is if they are connected to God personally and in community. If No. 1 is happening, then the personally part can be checked off the list. Worshiping corporately is important. They need to see older people in the faith and younger people in the faith all worshiping the same God. It is an opportunity for them to have worship and word modeled to them. Another way is a small group. Most churches in the area, as well as a few clubs in schools, offer small groups by age and gender for your students to be in community with other believers. Don’t wait until a hard time comes or a pressing character matter comes up, be proactive. A large group of youth worshiping is great. However, real life is done much like the disciples did it, in smaller groups.
We are told in Acts 1:8 to “be witnesses in Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” In today’s terminology, that means to be witnesses to the Panhandle of Florida, America, and the ends of the Earth. As a family, youth group or church, there needs to be a conscious effort to live out the love of Christ and share the story of Christ through testimony and serving. This needs to be happening regionally, nationally and globally. Maybe consider sponsoring a child overseas who can’t afford meals. A friend of mine has “rice and beans night” every week in honor of a child they sponsor to remind their whole family to pray for the child and prompt discussion. There are many ways to make an impact locally and globally as a family and live out the love of Christ!
Caroline Hare is the youth minister at Destin United Methodist Church.