If I were to choose one word to describe the faith of today’s Christian youth, it would be fragile. Last fall I launched an apologetics club at my church to help buttress the faith of my daughter and her friends. At the very first meeting we wrote up a list of the teens’ faith questions. Want to know what their biggest questions were? Whether it was okay for Christians to get tattoos and what to think about gay marriage. They also urgently wanted to know how to start a basic conversation with a nonbeliever about their faith.
I learned a very important lesson that night. These kids’ questions were different from my agenda. I had planned for us to discuss lofty topics like the existence of God and the laws of logic. But if I was going to keep these kids engaged in a conversation about theology and apologetics, then I needed to let them set the agenda.
The next week I told them they were 100% in charge of choosing discussion topics; this club was for them to explore their questions—even their doubts—in a safe environment. I used their questions from that first night as my guide to develop our conversations throughout the year, checking in with them periodically to see if I was still on track.
I turned their curiosity about tattoos into a three-week discussion about the relationship between the old and new covenants. Likewise, I harnessed their confusion about same-sex marriage into a discussion about how to move beyond superficial answers (“It’s wrong!”) to a robust biblical case for the traditional position on marriage. (You can check out my messages at truthseekersclub.blogspot.com.)
Teens have many unspoken questions when it comes to faith. And some kids are desperate to find meaningful answers. Many harbor fears that those outside Christianity have better answers than they do. Resolving these fears is a critical step in the transition between childhood faith and adult conviction.
Perhaps this series of Truth Seekers articles will inspire you to consider what you can do to become part of the solution. Those with advanced degrees as well as regular Christians who are mature in their faith and have some knowledge about theology and apologetics are encouraged to join in this effort to really listen to the kids’ questions and invest in the emerging generation.