Growing up I had two older brothers who loved to practice their WWE (was WCW and WWF at the time) wrestling moves on me. They loved getting their friends involved especially on my birthday. What a great gift! When I sought counsel in my mom she told me; “Wine quieter, I can’t hear the TV.” Such compassion! They eventually developed a nice nickname for me…Ryana. It could be worse, Jesus called the disciples “Little Faith” and Thomas is known as “The Doubter.”
In our society with the rise of “reason” our teenagers are faced with a constant criticism of their faith. This criticism may even cause some to doubt their relationship with Christ. Here are four keys that can help you in your ministry to teenagers who may be doubting their faith.
1. Reassure them.
Many times when teenagers begin to doubt their faith guilt soon follows. Reassure them that it’s common for Christians to go through a season of doubt. You may ask them to remember the reason they became a Christian in the first place. Their testimony can be used not only to help and inspire other people but to also remind themselves of the love of God. Keep encouraging them to develop deeper roots in their relationship with Christ and keep loving them. Remind them there has been many great men and women who have traveled that same path but had not lost their faith.
2. Challenge them.
Find out why they doubt and have a genuine conversation about it. Show the strengths in their stance and the flaws. Engage in a deeper conversation than; “Oh you’re doubting, ah, that’s ok we all do! I’ll pray for you though.” Instead try; “You’re doubting the existence of God? I understand how tough doubt can be sometimes. Would there be a good time to meet up for lunch and we can examine this more closely?”
3. Keep them involved.
If your students are seeking answers keep them involved with the youth ministry. Show them the evidence through your life and lives of other Christians. During this time the student will either leave their faith or develop a deeper understanding of it.
4. Teach them how to live victoriously in the midst of their doubt.
We will always have unanswered questions, but that doesn’t mean our students need to worry about abandoning their faith. You might encourage them to make note of their questions and gradually seek out each one until they reach an answer they’re intellectually comfortable with. There’s a wonderful peace you gain when you reach that accomplishment and instead of telling our students to stay away from that “hard” question, let’s encourage them to seek it out fully (helping along the way).
What are some other ideas that you would add in helping teenagers who doubt their faith?
P.S. - Another great way to help students with doubt is to teach Apologetics. Check out the LIVE Apologetics curriculum for your youth ministry!