How does a youth pastor evaluate if a student really believes in Christ? Words are just words. I really wish I could give a student a Christian belief litmus test to determine if they are really loving God with all of their heart, soul, and mind.
I argue that high school students have 9 common objections for why they do not believe in Christianity.
- Evil and Suffering Exist, a loving God cannot
- Miracles contradict Science, they cannot be true
- Evolution explains life, so God isn’t needed
- God is not worthy of worship if He kills innocent Children
- It’s offensive to claim Jesus is the Only Way to God
- A loving God would never torture people in Hell
- Church history is littered with oppression and violence
- I still have doubts, so I can’t be a Christian
- Christianity is for the weak and uneducated masses
Louis Berkhof argues that believing comes in three parts. First, Notitia is the intellectual approach to the gospel. One must cognitively wrap his/her mind around the abstract truths of Jesus. Second, is the Assensus, which is the emotional aspect. One needs to be in love with Jesus Christ, which will produce the motivation to follow His teachings. However the notitia and assesnsus does not exactly save the teenager. The third notion of fiducia is the element that saves the teenager. Fiducia is the way to ensure one believes because it is all about trust and having confidence in the belief that God is real. In order to believe one needs these ingredients:
Head + Heart + Faith + Passion + Commitment + Trust + Confidence = BELIEVING
NIV Mark 9:24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Some youth pastors are really honest, we at some level have unbelief in what we are sharing and teaching week after week. And it is so easy to criticize the student who has some honest questions combating the Christian claims. These questioning and doubting students should make us a better youth pastor. As youth pastors we need to be asking, seeking, questioning, doubting, and leaning towards the realities of the Cross.