What Youth Need from the Church

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Teenagers can be a very confusing group. As a teenager, I can say that.

Sure, we’re awkward and strange. But, we are also the most misunderstood batch of individuals you’ll meet. Many see us as a generation missing something, whether it be a work ethic, a purpose in life, and a passion to pursue that purpose. I agree something is missing, but I believe it’s something much deeper than appears at the surface.

Talking to my Bible teacher, I tried to decide what to write for this subject. He told me there is a common denominator in every teenager he has worked with. I decided to search for that common denominator.

And I found it.

Almost 70% of the youth I talked to on this topic said they desired real and intimate relationships. Thanks in part to social media, many teenagers develop feelings of insignificance. Countless others feel their worth is garnered through likes and friend requests. In order to obtain the popularity status, they have to change who they are or try to look like someone they’re not. They must portray the “perfect life.”

This ceaseless effort of limited results produces exhaustion and desperation for attention. I should know; I was there. And so, in a world where adolescents grasp for something to sate their desires of fulfillment, they turn to anything the world has to offer, anything considered “cool”.

“Wanna smoke with us?” Yeah, I do.

“Wanna go to that party with some friends?” I’d like nothing better.

“Let’s go sneak into that club tonight.” No argument from me.

They will accept anything that leads to acceptance into a group. However, one day the world will fail them, the empire they built will fall, and their friends will disappoint.

Proverbs 18:24 says, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

After this tragedy in their lives, where will they turn? In many cases it’s the last place they have yet to search to fulfill their aching hearts: church. Well, what do they need from the church?

Friendship, of course! They need to be in a place where they can be themselves and find the real, intimate, and nurturing relationships they’ve never had before. And most importantly, they need to be shown the One who is the ultimate friend and will never fail them: Jesus.

The church needs to show teenagers they have a future filled with hope and love in a world where there is neither hope, love, nor a future. 

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