I am not sporty. I don’t track athletes, teams, or even where the ball is on the field. ESPN has never been my jam. I’m much more of a Food Network kind of guy.
Yet I was serving in a youth ministry full of athletes. Track stars, football players, tennis pros, and even competitive swimmers were all well-represented in our group. I attended things—games, meets, matches. (See, I don’t even understand why sports use different terms for the same general concept!)
The longer I served with these teenagers and the more I learned their passions, the more they learned mine. Soon we were talking as much about pan-searing and knife cuts as we were about touchdowns and home runs. And then something amazing happened…
Our student leaders were dreaming up creative ways to reach their friends. The standard answer had always been something athletic—shooting hoops, sponsoring 5K runs, or playing flag football. “Those all appeal to the same kind of person,” they reasoned. “We won’t have any Darrens if we do that.” (I probably should’ve been offended, but I was too excited about how they were thinking!) “What if we tried an Iron Chef competition?” Our annual small-group kickoff event was born.
That experience taught me a universal truth about teenagers: They’ll eventually love what I love. They’ll love my family, the movies I watch, even my music (maybe). And they’ll adopt my passions as their own.
If we turn to Scripture only as a context and resource for our next lesson, teenagers will see it as just a godly Google for proving points. Quoting the Bible only when we’re explaining how to live makes it just a book of rules. But if we breathe it? When it confounds our life? As the permeation goes beyond joints and marrow? When we pay ridiculous attention to what we read, when it impacts our emotions and positions beyond our actions, and when the hunger to consume comes from starvation more than the notion that it’s just time to eat, then the Bible becomes a holy book.
Teenagers will catch your passions as you share life with them. Is God’s Word one of your passions? What are your actions and attitudes teaching them about Scripture’s value?