The Spiritual Needs of Teenagers
(from visioning conversations in 2013)
- Teenagers are looking for the real and authentic.
- Teenagers need a faith that transcends and motivates.
- Teenagers need adults in their lives that are available, authentic, and affirming.
What is it that teenagers need from the church today? Do they need a safe place to hang out? Do they need to clock volunteer hours? Do they need to be taught an ethical way of life?
The answer might be yes to all of these questions, and yet I believe that there is a much deeper need inside the hearts and minds of young people that the church can meet. Maybe you have heard it said that we each have a “God-shaped hole” inside of us. People search and search for ways to “fill” this hole. Relationships, education, drugs, money, and the list goes on. I am not sure about this image of a “hole”, and yet I am absolutely certain that we are spiritual being and that we have spiritual needs that only God can meet.
Reginald Blount identifies some of these needs in his article, “In search of Living waters: The Seven Spiritual Yearnings of Youth.” According to Reginald, teens long for intimacy, search for identity, are in need of healing from life’s struggles, are looking for purpose, want to be mentored, need nurture, and long to be courageous. These are spiritual longings that cannot be filled on the internet, or at the mall. We, the Church, can point the way to the answer: God.
As we begin to develop a youth ministry at Eden, it is essential that we keep these yearnings in mind. There will be plenty of fun and busy activities that are not meant to fill up our schedule and keep our kids busy. No these activities provide space for relationships to be built.
For strong friendships to form. We will have times of challenge and service that call us to reach beyond ourselves and stand up for something greater. We will also have times in sacred space where we learn to be open and connect with the divine….
-Ms. Hope Reyes, Director of Youth Programs