As adults and youth leaders, often times we feel like we cannot leave questions unanswered, as if the unanswered questions will result in our youth losing faith and then it all going "down hill from there". Or we just have an innate feeling that we need to know the answers. If we can't explain something, how can we teach it?
You may often hear a leader say, "Don't have all the answers...", but sometimes it is easier said than done. I came across a great blog today and thought I needed to share this with our families, specifically for our Confirmation Ministry.
Author and Blogger Paul Martin explores this in his post "The Importance of Tension":
Here’s the problem: I don’t think we should be in the business of giving definitive, comprehensive answers. Sure, if someone asks me if I believe Jesus is the way to salvation, I will say yes (but I will probably ask a bunch a of questions as well). However, there is just too much value in the tension of our understanding. Giving easy answers to difficult questions is not only short-sited in youth ministry, it undermines their changing perspective from a concrete to an abstract worldview. We should be teaching them how to work through these tensions for themselves, helping them make peace with the mystery of the gospel (Eph. 5:32).
Sure we can still try to explore and understand with our youth, and when given the chance we should give an answer like Paul does above if we truly believe it. But we also need to approach questions, not as something to be answered with an easy answer, but as something to explore together!
When we're able to embrace and explore the questions, I believe we are able to be shaped more and more by God and where God is leading us in our own understanding! Then we can teach the process to our youth, which can lead to a greater exploration and connection to their faith!
Thanks for exploring this more...
Director of Teen Ministry
First Lutheran Church