In the Church, high school can be one of the most fruitful, growing, and enjoyable times of a young person’s life, but it can also be filled with hardships and deep questions. I love youth ministry, and I love the meaningful, trialed, and awkward times that encompass a deep relationship with a teenager. This is also why we, as a youth staff, love having the types of conversations that surface with the harder questions of the Christian faith: Who is God? Why does He love me? How do we know God exists? Why does He allow such evil to happen in the world? Can we really trust the Bible? Today, church attendance in the United States is plummeting, and post-high school students are the greatest participants. I am convinced that one of the more prominent reasons that this is happening is because hard conversations concerning the Christian worldview are not happening in the church. High school students have plenty of questions and desire a safe place to share their concerns and doubts, but is the Church providing this? Are youth ministries creating spaces to allow students to ask their questions, learn, and dialogue through sufficient reasons for the Christian faith? Are we providing real answers?
Last year, Rooted High School Ministry started to implement the desire to build relationships through the addressing of specific topics. Outside of normal Sunday morning services and Wednesday evening life groups, we wanted to provide separate times for groups to meet, learn, and discuss the various topics that require more time outside of weekly programming. We currently call them Rooted Groups. These groups are available to all students who are interested in the topic that is being highlighted at the time. For example, our first two Rooted Groups initiated conversations about anxiety and the End Times (Eschatology). Both were about 4-5 weeks long and produced great conversations and spaces where students felt safe to bring their questions!
In September and October, Christian Fermin (our Youth Worship Minister) and I are executing another Rooted Group concerning the topic of Apologetics. We will be meeting for the next eight weeks, every Wednesday night before life groups, to discuss a rational case for the Christian worldview and its associated forms of life and answers to objections. We will cover some of the particulars of Christian apologetics, including the cosmological argument, the moral argument, issues with Scientism and Naturalism, other religions, and the reliability of Scripture. We had our first meeting on the 11th and fifteen students attended. We have some amazing students!
The purpose for this Rooted Group (and all Rooted Groups) is to equip our students with the tools necessary to navigate life in light of the Gospel truths. For Apologetics, we do not desire to fill up our students’ heads with enough knowledge so they can win a debate over the existence of God with their friends. We want high schoolers to not only be confident in the truths revealed to us in Scripture, but we pray that through knowing God’s truths that they would fall in love with the word of God, His Gospel message, and desire that the lost would know Jesus Christ. If the Gospel is good news to fallen humanity and there are factual reasons to believe it is true, how much more good news is it in the fact that it is true?! Praise God for the richness of His mercies to reveal Himself to us and to give us comprehension to understand them!
"Are youth ministries creating spaces to allow students to ask their questions, learn, and dialogue through sufficient reasons for the Christian faith? Are we providing real answers?"
"The purpose for this Rooted Group (and all Rooted Groups) is to equip our students with the tools necessary to navigate life in light of the Gospel truths."