I think the church has done a poor job of telling the creation story over the years. You see we typically tell the story like this, “So God was sitting around hanging out with himself and thought that he might be kind of lonely. In his loneliness he tells himself he will make people.”
I like to think that what really happened was God, being the perfect example of love, continually poured himself out demonstrating love to his three parts and as an overflow of that love people were created. He wanted to create something out of love that when he looked at it, it would reflect his beauty and glory back to himself—almost as if gazing in a mirror. He wanted his creation to be like him so that he could share an intimate relationship with it and then both parties would be an ultimate expression and reflection of Gods love.
We are created for relationships. Teens or adults we all want to fit in, and to have friends and to be comfortable with those friends. We strive to please people, and we do things that aren’t right simply to make us look better—why? We long for relationships.
Now we must remember that there are different kinds of relationships and not every relationship will make us better. In my teachings with teenagers I have made the mistake of trying to relate to them that we are to have a relationship with God, you know the kind of relationship you might have with a parent? Well you can probably see why this could pose a problem. If a teen does not have a healthy relationship with their parents and you tell them that is how we should be God, then they will be pretty turned off by that kind of imagery.
So what should we do?
We as adults have the responsibility of modeling relationships to the younger generation, not talking about them. See, we have the wonderful opportunity to demonstrate a healthy relationship to a younger person. I have found this to be more effective than telling them about relationships. In fact, I actually got a thank you from one of my teens’ parents about a feel better card I had given their child. I showed a teen that I cared for them instead of telling them, and it made all the difference.
Look at a young person’s life and you will see things going on and areas that God may be working on. You can simply watch and pull them aside and ask them questions, write them a note, send them a card. The point is that if you pay attention and put forth a little effort, you can demonstrate what a relationship with God looks like to a younger person and then build off of that idea. Once you crack open their world you can use that as an opportunity to teach them what a relationship with their parents, teachers, friends, and God should look like. As leaders we can only create environments that enable a person to see and know God. God’s job is repairing relationships, growing a person, or changing lives. We can demonstrate relationships and then teach our children about God and how he pursues a relationship with us. God the holy divine creator is pursuing us, and what better way to get that message out than by demonstrating that to others. We need to pursue relationships with people and then point them to God, just like he does with us.