is director of Assemblies of God National Youth Ministries.
He travels across the United States, rallying support
for youth ministries such as Speed
the Light, Fine Arts
and Ambassadors in Mission
(AIM). He spoke recently with Isaac Olivarez, staff
attributes do youth bring to the local church?
There’s a vibrancy that youth bring through their
enthusiasm and energy. Especially in the church today,
young people bring a new dynamic to praise and worship;
they seem to be more ready to enter into worship than
they ever have been. Through the raising of hands and
singing, there’s a burst of enthusiasm that seems
to be brought to the entire church when young people are
challenges do teens face when they come to know Christ?
It’s a challenge to share their faith with the friends
they’ve been running with. They have immediate decisions
to make about whether those friendships are going to be
able to continue, because they’re going to face
some opposition from those friends as to this new way
of life they’re following. Sometimes new young believers
face the challenge of how well they are received in the
local church. Though things may change immediately in
their heart, there may not be an immediate change in their
appearance or even in some of their personal choices.
The way the church responds to them and their newfound
faith is a great determining factor in their continuing
in their faith.
If I were a teen with tattoos and earrings, would Christ
still want me to follow Him?
has never turned anyone down. Scripture admonishes us
to work out our own salvation (Philippians 2:12). In times
past, we’ve often used that to justify our lifestyle.
But if we’re not careful, we fail to follow through
on the remainder of that Scripture, which says, “with
fear and trembling.” In dealing with a young believer,
it’s not a matter of what I’m looking for
as a leader or parent or anything else; it’s a matter
of helping the young person understand how to work out
the right relationship with God in light of His Word.
Young people who mark themselves with their dress, tattoos
and piercings are usually crying out for more attention
and more genuine love than teens that don’t do those
things. It’s a statement of “Please notice
I’m alive, and if you’ll just care about me
you might be surprised how I’ll respond to that.”
PE: Is it
a sin to struggle or to be tempted?
No. Jesus “was in all points tempted like as we
are” (Hebrews 4:15). But the key phrase after that
is “yet [He was] without sin.” So when we’re
challenged to be like Him, we can overcome that sin. Temptation
in no way is sin; it’s the yielding to that temptation
that is sin. That’s one thing we need to be careful
that we teach this generation. If temptation were a sin,
we would be in trouble because there’s temptation
all around teens today.
the best way for teens to engage others in conversations
Genuinely seek out another person’s thoughts. In
the world we live in today — with the reality of
war, cultural breakdown, the struggles of the American
home and all that our young people are facing —
this is a serious time. Teenagers are facing those times.
Being a genuine friend will include the great times of
fun and light-hearted conversation, but will develop a
relationship that says, “I’m there when you
need me.” Young people need to be available as genuine
friends, not just as “Christian” friends.
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