Helping Teenagers Develop a Full Faith Life
In my personal time of Bible Study this morning, I was reading the beginning of 2 Peter. I found myself floored by the powerful description of living a life of faith:
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.—2 Peter 1:5-8
Whoa! This hit me the right way today. One of my common soapbox speeches is what a poor job we as youth workers do at truly discipling teenagers. At our best we are part of a team of people who help facilitate spiritual growth in our teens. At our worst, we are entertainers, babysitters who paint a really poor picture of the vital, ongoing, life-long spiritual growth all Christ-followers are called to. And this wonderful passage reminds us of this in a powerful way.
I love what Peter says here . . . "supplement" your faith . . . We know that salvation is by grace through faith. "Check." But the life of a Christ-follower begins at salvation. What Peter is describing here is a process, a process of supplementing, or "adding to" our faith, shaping the character we are called to embrace. On top of our foundation of faith we build up our virtue, our character . . . On top of a virtuous character we add knowledge, knowledge of God's Word and a knowledge of the world as seen through God's Word . . . On top of knowledge we strive to add self-control. After all, what is knowledge, or virtue, or faith without the self-control to conduct ourselves in a way that honors these things . . . On top of all of these, we add steadfastness, the steadiness of a well-grounded faith . . . And the sum of all of these -these characteristics or attributes built upon the foundation of our faith—is godliness as expressed through brotherly affection and love. Wow! What an incredible blueprint for discipleship.
As a youth worker, it is our calling to help students develop in their faith. Part of this is equipping and motivating parents. Part of this is your stewardship of the relationship and the time you have with teenagers. The beauty of this all is that the Spirit ultimately empowers and facilitates this growth. But, you definitely have a role in the process. What are you doing to help teenagers develop this picture of a "fully developed" faith life?
- How are you strategic in your programming so as to accomplish this ongoing "supplementing" of teenager's faith?
- Where are we missing it? In what ways are we failing to help students to maximize their spiritual growth during the time we have them in our ministries?
What else did this post stir up in you? Don't be shy. Share!