Freshman year of high school I was consistently getting D’s in geometry. I knew my shapes I just didn’t understand this tool called Proofs and how they applied to my life. Essentially it’s an exercise through deductive thinking to lead someone to a hypothesis about something obvious. To me they seemed pointless because I had a hard time with the application. The question that loomed in my mind was, “What does this have to do with my life?”
That’s a question many teens ask when going to church. The tendency is to fill their head with doctrine, church history and tradition; however, if it doesn’t connect to their life it’s pointless. What teens need is application. They need to be shown why what our faith teaches matter, and how to use it. In the end in order to get the information across to the next generation you need to:
- Earn Their Trust: Doesn’t matter how much you have to share, if someone isn’t willing to listen they won’t hear what you have to say. Build relationships and you’ll build trust. Build trust and you can talk about almost anything. If a teen trusts you, they’ll be able to embrace the truth you want to relay.
- Bring It To Their Playing Field: How you communicate to adults is going to be different from how you communicate to teenagers. Understand what they face and embrace their culture and you’ll know the right application for the information.
- Show Them How To Grow On Their Own: Again you only have a limited amount of time with each teenager. Instead of stressing out what to teach them, show them how to grow on their own. That means finding habits, skills and tools that they can apply to their life. Hook them up with men and women who can show them how to continue to grow as a disciple.
Information is important, what teens need to know will help them in life. The problem is whether you have enough time and clout to give it to them. Your youth ministry needs to know the application before information. Without application you could be speaking to a deaf room.
Do you agree that application comes before information?