There’s been some recent discussion going on in the youth ministry blogosphere related to how we talk about God and Jesus in youth ministry. Check out a couple of posts here and here. This is something that I feel like I’ve been wrestling with a lot in the past six months or so. Maybe it’s all the hype that surrounded Kenda Dean’s most recent book, Almost Christian and the talk of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism as the primary faith system of young people in America.. Maybe it’s the experience and conversation that I have with the young people I interact with on a daily basis.
There is a part of me that wonders whether some of what is going on with young people in America is the church’s inadequacy in talking about Jesus. I don’t know about other folks out there, but I hear a lot of what I like to call “God talk” among people in the church and among our young people, and very little “Jesus talk.” I hear a lot of what the Bible says about me and very little of what the Bible says about Jesus.
Check out the video below to see a little bit more of what I’m talking about.
One of my favorite verses in scripture is John 3:30 in which John the Baptist says of Jesus, “He must become greater; I must become less.” John knew that his whole reason for existing was to point to Jesus. It wasn’t to point to some mysterious God that gave warm fuzzy feelings to the people who claimed to believe in Him. John the Baptist pointed his followers to Jesus Christ, the God who became man, experienced pain, experienced suffering and grief, and even experienced death. Jesus and the incarnation is what sets our Trinitarian faith apart from any other world religion.
In Christianity, we take comfort in the fact that our God chose to become one of us–to live in the messy reality of human existence.
And yet, so often in the church, we fail to talk about that reality–the single reality that sets us apart.
So, this is a challenge for me, but it’s also a challenge for us–for the church, for youth ministers, for parents, and for young people. What if we intentionally chose to replace our generic “God talk” with more “Jesus talk”? What if we allowed Scripture to speak to us about who Jesus is?
Let’s have a conversation.