1 Question You Must Ask Your Teens Weekly

This is a guest post from Kelly Lippenholz.  She is the Family Ministry Project Coordinator at Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland.  She oversees the development of content and curriculum for student and children’s ministry.  She lives in the Northern Baltimore County with her husband and two boys.  You can connect with her on Twitter @klippenholz.

Several years ago, I was in the midst of my first bible study class.  In my 30 years, I’d barely cracked open my bible, much less studied it. And on top of that, I wasn’t sure I’d had any kind of encounter with Jesus either. 

I enjoyed the class.  I was learning things my Catholic upbringing had never taught me. We looked at how Jesus interacted with a few different people such as:

  • The Disciples
  • The Woman At The Well
  • Zachaaeus
  • Sinners
  • Outcasts
  • Misbehaviors

Somewhere along the way, we were discussing how Jesus treated society’s lowest class.  We looked at how he always:

  • Loved them first
  • Lovingly called out their sins
  • Invited them into something better.

They always went away changed, inspired, forgiven, and unashamed.

At that moment, our teacher asked us a question that changed me forever.


It was a question I’d never been asked in my life (my 8-years-of-Catholic-education, never-missed-a-Sunday life). A question that would leave me with no other option but to act differently next time I encountered anyone.

I had to wonder, “When people walk away from an encounter with me, do they feel inspired, forgiven, unashamed, or even good about the encounter? Or do they feel defeated, less than, insulted, drained?”

This one question changed the way I looked at scripture. I now saw through a different lens. A lens that told me I had to emulate what I saw in scripture, not just read about it.

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” James 1:22

To help your teens see scripture and life through a different lens, this is a question you need to ask them too.  It’s a question that will:

Help Them Look At Scripture As An Application To Their Life

Typically teens are just fed information with no idea of how to use it.  When you ask that question it changes the way they approach God’s word.  It tells them, “This is instruction…use it.”

Challenge Them To Take A Second Look At God’s Word

God’s word sometimes takes time to process.  By asking them the question you are encouraging them to slow down and take a second look.  They might see a word or a phrase that is relevant to their life.  If you just review the scripture as a text book they might miss that.

Challenge your teens on a weekly basis to dive deeper into God’s word.  Encourage them to live out their faith in a very tangible way by helping them look at scripture as something relevant to their life.

Do you agree that this is the big question? What question would you ask weekly? Please comment.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • moralesje

    yes, i agree that this is the big question. Sometimes life get’s in the way and people tend to only communicate and fellowship with the folks in their inner circle – it’s easier. I’m guilty of that. The question I would ask weekly to a teen (actually to a particular teen)….he is thinking about the priesthood – but he a bit of an introvert – he is so fired up about this faith but does not communicate with other kids his age. So…I would ask him (since he wants to be a “shepherd”) is “How many our your “sheep” did you talk to this week?

    • Great question to ask, especially someone discerning the priesthood. I think we as youth ministers need to challenge and encourage our teens to take that next step. How well you know them will determine that next step.

    • Kelly

      Great question, especially for introverts. And a challenging one for “clicky” (or just shy) teens too. The sooner they learn to step out of their comfort zone, the more they will grow! Thanks for the feedback.