Teenagers and religion

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The world today is filled with more distractions than ever before. The media and technology are the main things influencing nearly all teenagers, providing fast impact entertainment and social connectedness. How can the Church compete with this?

Church should be a fun environment where teens can enjoy themselves. No teen is going to come back to a boring church!

As a result of messages in the media, teenagers believe that they are not ‘good enough’ and that their happiness depends upon the latest phone, a perfect body and lots of money. This, as well as the shallow connection teenagers experience through social media (one where real human communication is often neglected), is creating a world in which teenagers find themselves ‘lost’.

I believe that the Church has an important role in making a difference for young people. It’s important to reach out to teenagers and give them a sense of belonging. 

How do you make a church environment one where teenagers will want to spend time learning about God? Well, begin with establishing these following four things in your church:

  1. Personal attention—The fear of not being accepted is heightened in the teenage years, often causing low self-esteem. It’s important that youth leaders, pastors and other role models give personal attention and genuinely befriend young people.
  2. In-depth Bible study—Often studies of the Bible only ‘skim the surface’, discussing social issues that are not of great significance. Such an approach to the Bible underestimates teenagers’ intelligence. Teenagers need in-depth Bible study; something they can sink their teeth into to discover who God really is, and His purpose for their lives.
  3. ‘Today’ focused worship—Face it, no teenager wants to sing hymns with words like ‘thy’, ‘thou’ and ‘thine’. Nevertheless, most teenagers don’t want to attend a rock concert every Sabbath either. A balanced music choice is very important—if teenagers like the music, they will come back.
  4. Fun—Church should be a fun environment where teens can enjoy themselves. No teen is going to come back to a boring church! Whether it is weekend socials, a game, outreach opportunities or a funny story, it’s important to engage teenagers in something they will remember and enjoy.

Maryellen Fairfax is a Year 10 student who did work experience at RECORD.