That’s right, I chilled with Santa for 4 hours Sunday morning. So if you were wondering what the big guy was doing on Sunday December 12th, he was chilling at Church of the Nativity in Timonium, MD. My job yesterday morning was to bodyguard Santa and take him around campus in between services to greet the little kids. Going around I noticed that the kids had three different reactions to Santa that reminded me of three reactions teenagers can have to God. They are:
- Total Excitement: There were kids running, and pushing to see Santa. They were dragging their hesitant little syblings to see the big guy. In ministry we have teens who are just so eager to get to know God, we sometimes label them the youth groupie or the sold out. What we need to do is praise them for their eagerness and encourage them to bring others.
- Slight Hesitance: There were kids who saw Santa and immediately hid behind their parents. They would peer out, they were interested but they just weren’t sure what they wanted to say to Santa. The majority of our teens behave similarly to these kids. They see what Christ is about, they are interested but they just don’t know. Is God going to accept them, do they know what they need to say, what will others think? It’s a reaction filled with doubt. We just need to remind them that God is loving and that He wants to give them the gifts of hope, love and forgiveness.
- Scream In Terror: Some kids just are freaked by Santa…maybe because they realized they’ve been bad and are going to get coal…no just kidding, it’s probably because they have no idea who he is and they don’t understand. Granted teenagers aren’t going to shriek in horror and cling to their parents when we talk about Jesus, but there will still be pushback. Some teens (like adults) are nervous about what believing in God means because it means a change. We need to cheer them on, encourage them through the intimidation. To do this we need to just live out as disciples of Christ.
Okay, I know Santa isn’t God, but Jolly Ole’ Saint Nick was giving and loving. Even the character we’ve made the original man into carries characteristics that honor God. When it comes to teens and their relationship with God I think we believe they’ll all have the same reaction when first introduced and that’s why our programs sometimes come off one dimensional. By creating different levels of welcoming for different levels of teens you can help the sold out, the not sure and the totally freaked out inch closer to a relationship with God.
So what are you doing to create those levels? Please leave your comments below.