Why I'm passionate about YOUR young people
A year ago my college-age daughter confessed that she was struggling with severe anxiety and spiritual warfare in her life and she'd been trying to hide it from me for a long time. I was devastated that I’d been in the dark about her anxiety and unable to support her. My greatest comfort during the heartbreaking months that followed her confession was that Jesus was by her side the entire time. When I couldn’t be there, he was.
This experience was a potent reminder to me that being a teen or young adult today is challenging. In addition to rising rates of anxiety, young people are coming of age in a time of great turmoil and uncertainty. Navigating this terrain will be bumpy.
This is why I’m passionate about helping my generation raise and mentor Jesus-centered teens and young adults. Within a decade these young people are going to be emerging leaders in the world, raising families, directing companies, and shaping culture. I want them to do it with Jesus by their side, and I believe our influence as parents, mentors, and friends can help prepare and support them.
Influence comes from conversation and time spent together. But if you’re like me, you don’t always know how to connect with younger people about Jesus (hello awkward conversation). To help, here are two easy places to start:
The Jesus-Centered Bible: When the Apostle Paul was mentoring Timothy as a young man, he coached him to read the Bible, saying that its words would put Timothy together and shape him for what God had for him. Isn't this what we want for our young people, too? To be put together and shaped for their future with God? (Yes please.) The Jesus-Centered Bible is a powerful tool for this process. Not only does it offer God's word in an easy-to-read translation (NLT), it also provides rich study notes that highlight references to Jesus in every book of the Bible (they're in blue in the Old Testament and the familiar red in the New Testament). This focus on Jesus is the most transformative center-point I want for my young people.
The Jesus-Centered Life devotional for youth: Written by Rick Lawrence, the editor of the Jesus-Centered Bible, this book takes the concepts of The Jesus-Centered Life and breaks them down into 40 days of devotions for preteens and teens. Using language they’ll understand, with actions they can use in daily life, this devotional can also spark great conversations between parents/friends/mentors and young people. Get copies here.
Thankfully my daughter is emerging from a difficult season with a faith that’s been tested and strengthened. And (let’s be honest) when I haven’t been feeling just slightly terrified as her mom, I’ve felt grateful and inspired to witness Jesus transforming her into a young woman with courage and passion. My prayer is that she, along with her younger brothers, will be one of many Jesus-centered young people like her, and that the young people you love will be among them, too.
I am so thankful for you and the young people in your life, and praying for their future with you.