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Top Ten Theological Questions Teens Ask: If I Cannot Stop Sinning, Why Do I Need To Stop? (#1) | REyouthpastor.com | Home youth ministry, youth pastor
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Top Ten Theological Questions Teens Ask: If I Cannot Stop Sinning, Why Do I Need To Stop? (#1)

(sin photo brought to you by:  Copyright All rights reserved by Trudi Esberger)

Why Do Students Struggle With The Idea Of Sin?

I have had countless conversations with junior and senior high school students about their habitual sin patterns.  These older students tend to think if one cannot fully stop sinning, then what is the point to stop?

These jr and sr students have said the prayer, gone to camp, sang the worship songs, read their Bible, frequently attended church and youth group and they still have not seen any life transformation.  Their desire to stop sinning is dead.

The logic of these older high school students are:  I love Jesus and I love to sin.  Somehow they think it is okay to live this dual lifestyle.  This is a very confusing logic for any adult youth worker to understand.  The problem is that these students don’t know how to live out the text of Romans 6 and 7.  They think that living the Christian lifestyle is near impossible.  They don’t know how to answer the question of: how can I pursue righteousness and be sinful at the same time?

The Goal Of Youth Ministry:  How To Work With Students Who Love To Sin

Many of our youth ministries have relied on “sin management” (a term coined by Dallas Willard).  If we just get our students to be good, then our youth ministries are all good, which as a result gets our students to think their relationship with God is all good.  This is a classic case of behavioral modification.  We are all guilty of trying to engineer perfect behaviors in every teen that walks through the door of our church.

Mid to late adolescents brains are like a ferrari car without brakes.  Their neurons just don’t know how and when to stop. So it is expected students are going to make a lot of dumb decisions and mistakes.  

The goal of middle and late adolescent ministry is making disciples,[ Matt.  14:20] who are authentically walking with Jesus Christ within the context of Christian community.

This goal has four implications:  Student must 1) know 2) love 3) trust, and therefore 4) obey Jesus.

  1. Students know Jesus Christ.  This is where Bible study fits and a strategy for increasing knowledge.  Student cognitively really know HIM.
  2. Students love Jesus Christ which compels them to express their love for Him.  They have no problem showing affection towards HIM through prayer, worship, evangelism, service and spiritual disciplines.
  3. Students trust and therefore, obey Jesus Christ.  Student needs to be obedient to Christ.  Faith (greek word:  Pisteuo) literally means to trust.  The key to growing in Him is to trust Him.  IT IS ALWAYS ABOUT TRUST and obedience falls under trust. 
  4. Our students obedience means that they desire to follow Jesus Christ and participate in His Kingdom work here on earth.  You know a student gets it when he/she says:

I love Jesus Christ who directs my life  which means I am going to love Him and love and serve others.

The problem with the Christian student (who loves to sin) is that they only KNOW Jesus.  They haven’t trusted, obeyed, and followed Him yet.  More than likely they haven’t had an opportunity to fully trust Jesus with their baggage.  They haven’t invited Jesus into their messes.  They have compartmentalized their dual lifestyle of faith and sin. Somehow they have been led to believe that the the Gospel puts more weight on their shoulders rather than take the weight off.  This is why the goal of youth ministry is to get students walking authentically with Jesus. Youth ministries are doing their job when we are cultivating environments that encourage full reliance on Jesus.

So how can our youth ministries put students in an environment that encourages trusting Jesus?  




** If you want read all 10 of the Top Ten Theological Questions Teens Ask click here

About Jeremy Zach

Orange XP3 Specialist | Youth Worker | MDIV | Hot Sauce Addict | Dr. Dre Beats Lover

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  1. I know this is a “duh” statement, but your helpful post points to the necessity of having more Christ centered, teenage caring adults to actually connect with a broader spectrum of students at a deeper level.

  2. This is a great question. I just got back into youth ministry after some time at seminary. I stepped into a ministry with a recent history of being a lot of fun-n-games, but in the process it destroyed 2 youth ministers and had a reputation as being cliquish. I’m trying to find that special balance between fun and discipleship building. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, but the kids think they are – I had some faithful attendees turn down a retreat because the Bible was on the packing list. I’m discovering exactly what you said – the kids know Jesus, or know of Jesus, but they don’t trust him. And I’m guessing, as the work of Kenda Creasy Dean suggests, that this problem is often rooted in parents’ faith, especially when parents are attending church for the sake of their kids and not out of their own sense of discipleship. Any suggestions?

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