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When it comes to teenagers, it’s interesting that many adults have a challenging time with this stage of life. Many of us are confused by how to parent them, teach them, relate to them, and even talk them. They’re not kids anymore, but they have yet to go through some experiences that help them fully become adults. And when it comes to sharing the Gospel with them…well, where do you start?
I have to admit, before the Lord called me to youth ministry, I was intimidated by them and at times avoided them on Friday nights at the movie theaters. The first day I stepped into youth group as a youth leader, flashbacks of the first day as a high-school freshman came rushing to my mind along with all the memories of feeling like I didn’t belong. But the interesting thing was that in the sea of 13-to-18 year olds that filled the room, that’s how they felt too.
These days, high-schools are filled with teens that have never heard the story of Easter and even those that have grown up in Christian homes have not always known how to respond to it. A larger number of students are growing up in broken homes or highly troubled homes. In a season where entertainment and popularity and outward appearances take priority in their life, it takes looking deeper to understand how to really connect with teens. We tend to look at teens as second-class citizens at times and think, “they’re not ready for this” when it comes to serious subjects like the Gospel.
The teen years can be a really challenging period of transition. Think about it: you’re not a kid anymore, so people expect you to act mature, but you’re not an adult yet, so society doesn’t take you seriously yet. But the reality is that teenagers just long to belong. Like the rest of us, they long to be known and accepted. They long to be part of community and to know that they are loved despite all their insecurities and shortcomings. They’re trying to figure out what they will do with the rest of their life and what their purpose is to give them a sense of value. So this is where an open door lies to speak to their hearts and share the beauty of the Cross. When a teenager realizes that the connection and relationship they are seeking with their parents or their friends or their interests or their hobbies will never satisfy, but can only fully be fulfilled at the Cross of Jesus, their eyes are opened to the truth.
Teens are longing for things that are real and authentic and when we feed them anything less than the straight up truth about the cross and who Jesus is, they don’t see its value. Students want something to give their life to, and we often see them give it to music and entertainment or to pursuing romantic relationships or even to be engaged in every extracurricular activity. When we truly lead them to encounter the power of Jesus in their lives, however, they can direct those passions toward Him and giving their lives fully to Him. As they seek meaningful connections and they realize that Jesus came to connect with them and break every barrier that would get in the way of that connection, it speaks to their core. In a generation that has grown up among split parents and broken relationships, the story of Easter and how Jesus came to restore the broken relationship with the Heavenly Father and overcome death is the answer to the cry in their hearts. Take the opportunity to reach into the hearts of teens around you and let God use you to connect them to Jesus at the Cross this Easter!
Check out our small, faith-filled gifts perfect for any teens’ Easter basket. Looking for more inspiration? Read more Easter articles and devotionals here.
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