“I struggle because I can’t see God.” This is a common thought among teens in our churches today, even those who appear to have it all together. Pastor Jason Blunk, associate pastor at Ankeny (Iowa) Baptist Church, addressed this struggle and offered Biblical approaches to discipling teens in the workshop “Teenage Triumph: Discipleship Ministry with Youth” Tuesday morning at the GARBC conference. Discipling teens in and through the local church can be a daunting task given the challenges facing them in our world today. This was expressed by Tonya Ireland, who attended the workshop this morning. “I have a teenager and a preteen and I need insight to work with my teens and to not lose them spiritually,” she said.
Blunk presented a dynamic, interactive workshop on how the church and parents can partner together to connect with students while remaining true to the Word of God. Discussion topics included the foundations of discipling teens, instruction in Biblical discipleship methods, and approaches to equipping students for impact today.
Blunk challenged the participants who work regularly with teens, “Do you stop at just giving them knowledge?” He emphasized that we can’t stop there. Teens must know what to do with Biblical knowledge and how to translate it to their daily lives. Tonya said that Blunk’s questions really resonated with her. She realized that her children’s Biblical knowledge does not necessarily equal spiritual maturity.
So how does Biblical knowledge translate to daily life? Blunk says that this is typically accomplished by spending time with our teens beyond the typical Sunday and Wednesday programs. This would include attending their sporting events and concerts and meeting with them one on one. “The more we are with them, the more social stock we have with teens,” Blunk stressed. He explained further, “With this social stock, teens will then allow us to share spiritual truth with them.” Sharing spiritual truth with teens and coming alongside them as they live out the truth in their daily lives is a primary goal for all teen leaders and parents. It is also the goal for Christian teens as they embark on the life that God has for them and make choices and decisions that will impact their lives for eternity.