As we’ve often heard from evangelists: There isn’t—and never was—a Plan B in God’s design. You need to convey to your teens the sense that they were not an accident. Your teens’ births and families are all part of God’s original plan. Even if there were mistakes in the past, God works all things out for those who call upon him and are called according to his purpose.
God is still working the same plan he’s always had from the very beginning of time.
As pastors, God’s plan needs to become our plan—immediately. Our goal needs to be to help our teenagers become more and more like Christ. Part of the process is helping them understand how God is going to take them through everything Jesus went through—including loneliness, temptation, unpopularity, criticism and more. Only then can they truly become like him.
Looking over that list, it sounds like Jesus lived the American teenage experience. Yet, often when our teens experience these circumstances, we do everything we can to fix the problem, without taking the time to determine if this is something meant to make our teen more Christ-like.
Helping our teens see their problems from God’s perspective will help them submit to his sovereign hand as he works to make them more like Christ.
4. Every teenager is shaped for service
God created each of us to serve him, and in the church, we call that ministry. Ephesians 2:10 teaches, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (NLT).
Every Christian is created to serve, and that means teens are called to ministry, created for ministry, saved for ministry, and uniquely gifted for ministry. The Bible makes it very clear that every Christian is a minister, regardless of age.
We need to teach our teens that they need not wait until they get older before they jump into ministry. The God of the universe shaped them to serve, and they can start right now.
And the earlier your teen starts, the sooner God’s fourth purpose for his or her life—Christ-like service—will develop deep within.
5. Every teenager was made for mission
Do you think your teen would be encouraged to know that God created him or her for a specific mission here on Earth?
Jesus said in John 17:18, “[Father], in the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world” (MSG).
Every believer needs a ministry to believers, and a mission to unbelievers. Teens can do both, serving believers and evangelizing unbelievers. In fact, you might even involve entire families as you all go on a mission trip together or in reaching their neighborhood for Christ.
Studies show most people who come to Christ—at least in the United States—come to him before they turn 18. Other studies show people are far more receptive to hearing the Gospel from a friend than a stranger. This combination gives Christian teenagers an incredible opportunity for ministry and mission.