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God’s Plan and Purpose for Youth

There is an existential crisis among our youth. That is not to say that such a crisis is sudden, or even new, to this young generation. In many ways, this crisis is at the root of the many challenges and fears facing our country today. Beyond the political and cultural crises—even deeper than the genetic code of the coronavirus—there is a deep yearning to have a purpose in a world that seems to suggest there is none. The world might suggest such a reality, but nothing is further from the truth. Paul says that God has “blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing … even as He chose us in Him before the foundation” of the cosmos to be “holy and blameless before Him” (Ephesians 1:3–4).

Spiritual Care for Students Delaying Dreams

How long is your list of cancellations this year? Each month of 2020 seems to try to bring back one thing we lost and also takes away something many of us were looking forward to. A majority of my day is spent helping high school students who are transitioning to college. One of the most disappointing pieces of news that I have to deliver over and over again is telling a student that he or she waited too long to take advantage of an opportunity. Yes, deadlines are clearly stated, but additionally, some things “run out” if you do not jump on them quickly enough. In my job, this happens most often when classes fill up, when dorms reach capacity, or when scholarship money is used up. As if these missed opportunities were not difficult enough, many students in 2020 are also encountering cancellations from the world as well—through no direct fault of their own. We struggle in this together.

Youth and Social Justice

Repeat after me: “Having been created in the image of God, all humans are equal in value, honor, and dignity.”  It’s a statement that I go over and over again in my theology classes. It begins freshmen year, when we encounter God in Genesis muddying his hands as He shapes his beloved creation in His own image. It continues through senior year as students consider the root of ethics: all humans have a common, innate dignity, derived from their relationship with the Creator, which compels that we love one another. Any ethical system devoid of that truth fails to maintain the intrinsic dignity of humanity.

Your Youth Are Epic Warriors

Who am I? What does God want with me? During my youth, and perhaps even still now, those were questions I constantly considered. After all, I’m just a simple human without a grand life or thrilling adventure to speak about. Yet God has called us to be His own through baptism, made us His children, and has called us into His salvation story. How can you encourage your youth to see that, even in the monotonous, their lives are part of God’s epic story of salvation?

Skeptical Thoughts and Teaching the Answers

I can see how people might be skeptical regarding Scripture. I was, after all. At one point, I truly didn’t know much about the Bible, so the minute someone stated that the Bible wasn’t reliable, it was all the evidence I needed to convince me that the Bible wasn’t true. I didn’t do any research for myself—I didn’t even read more into the claims. Nope. I was simply sure they were right. (Though this is not the case anymore.)


Effective Youth Ministry Is Personal

When I was a seventh grade student, a friend from middle school brought me to church for the first time. My family had an adversarial relationship with God, and church was really far down on their list of preferred Sunday activities. I walked onto the campus of a small Lutheran church and into a family I was not expecting.

An Invitation to a Lifetime with Christ

When I was growing up, my family did not attend church regularly, so going to church events was never “automatic.” For me, going to a church event—summer picnics, wintertime sledding, VBS—meant getting an invitation. I didn't know it then, but those invitations were more than just invitations to have some fun; they were invitations to learn about Jesus and other important Bible stories. They were my look into the church. Events like these are perfect opportunities for you to encourage your youth to invite others because those invitations could very well be life-changing for someone (like me).

4 Things Your Youth Ministry Needs to Have

How can we teach teenagers to turn to God for help? The first step in doing so is recognizing what teenagers are seeking so we can show them how God meets their needs. All people, including teenagers, need forgiveness, acceptance, community, and endurance. We can use the acronym F.A.C.E. to remember these four things. Let’s take a look at the F.A.C.E. of Jesus and see how these gifts He brings through the Lord’s Supper apply to youth ministry today.