One of the biggest changes this year has been our curriculum. The format of posing a question, exploring the question through activities and coming up with a solid answer...or maybe not a solid answer?
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).
Much of the research coming out of institutes like Fuller Youth Institute and Barna Group, explore why youth and young adults choose not to engage with the church. The findings often point to the church either giving a simplistic answer to tough questions, or not addressing the questions at all.
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
This week our youth helped fill food bags for Kids Against Hunger! Thanks to church volunteer Marcy Shie for leading this venture. Here is some more information about Kids Against Hunger.
Kids Against Hunger
The mission of Kids Against Hunger, a humanitarian food-aid organization, is to significantly reduce the number of hungry children in the USA and to feed starving children throughout the world. Kids Against Hunger is not affiliated with or restricted to a particular religious group and does not discriminate on any basis when distributing its meals.
The beauty of the food formulation is its simplicity. It is made from four readily available, dry ingredients that are easy to package, keep for long periods, and require only boiling with water to prepare. Despite the simplicity of the food’s content, it is a nutritionally complex and well balanced meal.
Share a high and a low from the week so far.
35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’
Where did you see God at work today?
Who was involved?
How did you do God's work today?
Do you think your work helped to fulfill this Bible verse? If so, how?
Thank you God for providing us opportunities to serve those in need. Use this experience to remind us of those who are in need and to respond to their needs with your love. Amen.
(Name), you are a Child of God!
What is this?
Weekly posts pertaining to the Confirmation Lessons for the week. A great way for families to have conversations of faith at home, on the road, or around a meal.