I had two beautiful opportunities to speak with teens at the end of this week. Last night, I shared part of my testimony with about 130 enthusiastic middle school students at a retreat for Immaculata Catholic School (Durham, NC). Then, this morning I began at Theology of the Body class with 6 thoughtful teens, grades 8-12 at Gifts home school co-op. Though they were very different presentations, one theme is always present when I speak to teens–What is YOUR relationship with God?

Often, they have never been asked that question before.

It is so easy for a young person to adopt the faith of his or her family or community and not really analyze a personal relationship connection with Christ. Then, assuming they are a committed Christian, they get outside of the structure of faith and they founder on reefs of doubt. They didn’t know what it meant to own, pursue, and develop a prayer life, a conversation with God.

There are several ways that a young person can grow exponentially in the faith:
*Good mentorship that helps them to know themselves and grow
*Personally chosen prayer and participation in the Sacraments
*Service that brings them outside of their comfort zone and puts them into relationship with others (this is also why depth rather than breadth of service can be beneficial)
*Spiritual reading
*Holy friends that normalize an integration between one’s spiritual life and one’s daily activities and interactions

If you have teens of your own or work with them, I encourage you to reach out to them to understand how they perceive their walk with God and where they may need help. You can do all the moral ethics talks and culturally relevant studies you want, but without a foundational relationship with God, these isolated lessons will not withstand the contradictory waves they will face later in life.

A big thank you to the groups who share your teens with me. It is a blessing to meet them and to minister to their inquiring minds and open hearts!

 

Image source: oublicdomainpictures.net by Petr Kratochvil

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