For many adult Christians, the teenage years were a period they barely managed to scrape through. Sadly though, many don’t make it through with their faith in Jesus intact, statistics show that church attendance in young people drops dramatically around the age of 15. The teen years seem to be one of the most crucial periods in a young person’s life when it comes to following Jesus. St Peters church must be a place where young people can grow in their faith in Jesus – not check out.
Here are 4 places where teens can be discipled:
1. A PLACE TO INVITE
20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
(2 Corinthians 5:20, NIV 2011)
As a church, we are committed to reaching out to our community with a message of reconciliation. The reality is that most people will not come to church unless they are invited and that’s especially true for teenagers. Our teenagers need a “safe” place where they can invite their friends, Hood on Friday serves as a place where teens can bring their friends to hear about Jesus in a fun and relaxed environment. Hood is essentially about reaching out to young people who do not trust Jesus, it’s a place where non-Christians feel welcome, relaxed and open to hearing about Jesus and his message of reconciliation. This Winter Life Hood will be hosting a night of “auction fun” at the Daily Café on Friday, 26th July, it’s going to be a great place to invite.
2. A PLACE TO BELONG
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
(1 Corinthians 12:27)
By far one of the most important aspects of teen life is friendship, it’s a time when meaningful relationships outside the family unit are established. Christian teens need more than just friends, they need fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage them. These relationships are not only limited to other teens but include older Christians too because young people have a better sense of belonging at church when they have meaningful relationships with adults as well as their peers. The 6 pm congregation works as a place where teens can belong, and build relationships with other Christians – young and old alike. Young people need to know that they are part of the body, if some members of our church are not fully engaged they will be the lesser for it but so will the rest of the church.
3. A PLACE TO GROW
7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (1 Corinthians 3:7)
Jesus commanded his inner group of disciples to teach others to obey everything he commanded. Relaying information is easy, but teaching others to obey all Jesus has commanded is only possible through the Holy Spirit! Teens don’t only need morality, or biblical knowledge as the end goal, those things are important, ultimately, they need a place to grow spiritually, a place where they are taught the implications of God’s word for life. Sitting under faithful preaching in church week in and week out spiritually strengthens God’s people. Youth small groups are also a brilliant place for young people to engage with God’s word and share their journey of spiritual growth with others.
4. A PLACE TO SERVE
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:7)
God matures us and builds us up as we serve the local church. Teens need to know that they have real gifts and a place to use them for the common good of St Peters. Serving at Holiday club, children’s ministry, music ministry and welcoming are just a few ways to get involved. Young people have the potential to become valuable parts of ministry teams, learning what it means to serve God with their gifts for the common good of the church.