our everyday life

How Can Teenagers Stand Up for God?

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

For many young people, the teen years are characterized by spiritual search and exploration, according to a July 2010 study from the Barna Group, a nonpartisan, nondenominational research group that focuses on American faith and spirituality. As teens search for spiritually connection, they want expressions that are relevant to their lives and careers, address real problems in practical ways and help them connect to God.

Personal Faith Practices

Your teen needs personal faith practices to provide a healthy foundation for living a life dedicated to God. Model reading your Bible, praying and worship so your teen sees the importance of regular spiritual expression. Facilitate family devotions and faith activities to establish a habit in your teen’s life. Ask your teen to lead the family in prayer, read the Bible passage or lead the devotion. Encourage your teen to invite her friends over to study the Bible, play Bible learning games and share the faith.

Christian Example

Your teen can use his spiritual beliefs to determine his choices such as following the 10 Commandments or breaking them. Explain, “The Bible says that you should live a life of righteousness. When your friends know you are a Christian, they expect certain behaviors from you. You can provide an effective model for God by following Jesus’ example.” Study scriptures such as Romans 12:1-2, 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 and Ephesians 4:17-32 with your teen and talk about various scenarios that are common to teens so your teen can apply the scripture in a practical way.

Service

In John 12:26, Jesus says his follows should serve others as He served His father. Assist your teen to find ways to serve as an expression of her faith. She could help older adults with tasks they can longer do, assist in the worship service, help collect food for a food pantry, donate money to projects such as Heifer International or Water.org that assist developing nations with farm animals or clean water. Your teen can talk to her friends about the projects and persuade others to join her in service.

Sharing Faith

In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commands his followers to tell others the good news so they can become believers. Your teen can share his faith with other teens. If he says he doesn't know how, you can role-play witnessing with him. For other options, he could take a mission trip with other teens and adults to share the Gospel in song and dance or through acts of service. He can offer to teach a lesson for his Sunday school class, youth group or during a Sunday worship service. He can invite other teens home to learn about Jesus.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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