I recently attended a seminar for Youth leaders that looked at why college students stray from the faith and how to reverse the trend. One of the insights was that some youth were raised believing DO and DON’T and therefore were lost when they did something wrong and weren’t sure how to act so they walked away from the church in shame instead of feeling grace. In our small group conversation afterwards, we talked about how to share about grace while not sounding like we’re giving blanket permission to go ahead and do all the things we say not to do. The message we need to share is that the reason you avoid doing bad things isn’t out of fear of punishment but due to LOVE of God. This message is reinforced by “To Know You” by Casting Crowns which includes the lyrics “To Know You is to Want to Know You More”.
While Good Friday is a time of darkness, we live on THIS side of Easter so we know that no matter how bad things have gone for you, the message of Easter is one of HOPE. Jesus died for our sins and we just need to accept this gift.
So, whether a youth is having a down day or feel that they have done the seemingly unforgivable, they need to know that our God is an awesome God, a forgiving God, a loving God and a God of Grace and Hope.
by Mark Whitaker
Chair, youTheology Advisory Board
Youth & Young Adult Director @ Avondale United Methodist Church in KC North
Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future