Have you ever wondered what contributes to young people staying faithful to the things of God, while others wander away? What contributes to two kids in the same local church, hearing the same preaching, ultimately going dramatically different directions? Ultimately, it’s free will—everybody makes their own decisions. But what influences those decisions?
One of our youth group graduates, Josh Tanner, just began serving the Lord in youth ministry. Josh recently emailed me, asking what I would place on a list of “things that help young people stay faithful.” My quick reply was simply “a good relationship with godly parents,” but then I asked him to send me his list. I was curious what he considered to be the factors that kept him faithful since his childhood.
To put it simply—he nailed it! Josh sent me a strong list of ten things that contributed to his spiritual course. Here’s the list:
1. Parents—faithful parents who lived the Christian life, not perfectly, but genuinely.
2. Pastor—a great relationship with a faithful pastor. These first two trump all the rest!
3. Youth Pastor—someone to come along, teach the Bible, and encourage the first two relationships.
4. Godly Relationships (friends, peers, dating, mentors, friends’ parents)—choosing right influences and good crowds.
5. Involvement in church functions, events and work around the church—making church life a priority, and letting fun, social life, and friends revolve around spiritual things.
6. Seeing and experiencing the joy that comes from serving in ministry—acting out your faith by getting involved in ministering to others.
7. Seeing miracles and seeing God do amazing things—being a part of a dynamic local church where God is at work.
8. Seeing and realizing the need—taking eyes off of self and looking around long enough to see that God wants you to make a difference in someone else’s life.
9. God’s grace—the supernatural working of God developing desires and direction in life—probably a result of the prayers flowing from points one and two!
10. Relationship with God (devotions, prayer, prayer meetings, etc.)—the outflow of a real personal walk with Christ. At some point, Josh made his walk with God real and personal.
The first two on the list are the foundation. Everything else can be built on those two. If you’re wondering what factors help a teen choose to stay faithful to God, I believe this list states it well! May God bless you in the work of establishing young hearts in the faith of Christ!
Thanks, Josh, for sharing your heart in this list!