Youth Groups Need Theological Training
by Joel Onyshuk
As a youth pastor, there are certain temptations. One of them that is most dangerous is to believe that your youth kids "can’t handle" the heavy stuff. I’ve gone to church camps, youth rallies, conferences, etc., and I’ve been sorely disappointed in the depth that many of the speakers have had in their sermons and presentations.
As youth pastors, we have an incredibly important job to do. Research shows that our worldviews are based largely on what we learn before graduating from high school. Students are ripe for learning, and soak in vast amounts of information with relative ease. That’s why learning is so much more difficult for adults. We’ve passed the age where we can learn with very little effort. Our brains have hardened and the learning abilities we used to have are greatly diminished.
Therefore, our students in youth group are perfectly suited to learn, despite how it may appear. I know how it is: you look out to see the faces of your students and half are texting, and even more are whispering to their friends. It may seem like they couldn’t care less about what you’re saying. But they do. You know how I know? Because they are there. They continue to come, despite having other things they could be doing. While many of their friends are home playing video games, Facebooking, doing homework, eating pizza and drinking Mountain Dew, they repeatedly take time out of their week to show up.
So since they are there, and you only have a couple hours a week to thoroughly educate and mentor them with the truth of God’s Word, why waste it by telling funny stories of your younger days and then briefly expounding on a point or two from a Bible verse? So many youth pastors and speakers miss the opportunities placed before them to exegete the richness of the Word of God because they are relying on their own strength and power to get the message across. They forget that the Word of God is powerful and able to pierce our hearts and change us in ways that all the creative storytelling and humor in the world could not accomplish…
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