How are the students who are no longer in your ministry doing? I think about a few of them from time to time, but only a few of them. It’s difficult to remember every teenager I’ve mentored, taught or interacted with and so it’s great when we cross paths. It’s at those moments when I wonder, “Did I do everything I could to help their faith or hurt it?”
I recently saw the documentary ‘Beware of Christians’ the story of four college friends who travel to Europe to challenge what they’ve been taught when it comes to following Jesus Christ. All four guys, Alex, Michael, Matt and Will, were raised in the church; however, as they grew older they saw the discrepancies between a Christ follower in the Bible and one in the United States. After watching this film I found myself asking three questions:
AM I PREPARING STUDENTS TO GROW ON THEIR OWN?
I wonder because in the film we see these guys really challenge their perceptions of faith and the church. In the end their faith grows strong and it’s because they display the knowledge and faith one needs when faced with adversity. That’s why it’s important to teach your students spiritual habits.
DO I MAKE CHRISTIANITY SOUND EASY?
A subject that was brought up towards the end of the film is whether or not we give the impression that once you are a Christian, life gets easy. This goes back to the question of whether or not your ministry is entertainment or a place where teens can grow strong in their faith. If you tell your teens to believe and life gets so much better, when they face a challenge that concept goes away. If their faith is built on that, then what will they have left?
DO I IGNORE THE REAL ISSUES THAT WE ALL FACE?
In this film the guys share their honest perspective and the confusion that’s come with seeing what the world and church says about the following subjects:
On top of their opinions they share the views of people they meet in the street of different countries. The results just show how the lack of conversation on these subjects have created so many misconceptions. If your youth ministry isn’t discussing these areas of faith then you are allowing the world to fill in the gap of communication. The more you talk about them and encourage the conversation, you can fill those gaps with God’s wisdom.
When I first heard about this film I was reluctant to watch it because I thought it would be another rant on how bad religion is; however, it brings about an honest conversation. It isn’t a bash on religion, instead it’s a challenge for us to really look at what God’s word is saying.
My recommendation is that you show this to your seniors and teens who are sold out for Christ. While it won’t convince all of them to go deeper in their faith it will bring up a lot of honest conversations that you need to have in your ministry. One of the best things we can do to prepare our teens for the next stage of their faith is have them address and expose any questions or hangups. If those go unresolved it could grow into a problem that pushes them away from their faith.
Have you seen this movie? What are your thoughts? Leave your comments.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”