Why Our Expectations for Teens in the Church Are Way Too Low

We need kids to learn how to be real church members, and we need kids to have good ecclesiology—a good theology of the church.

Historically, one of the failures of youth ministry is that kids have not been viewed as potential contributors in the church, and that is a disservice to them and to the church as a whole. We need kids to learn how to be real church members, and we need kids to have good ecclesiology—a good theology of the church.

 

 

Adjusting Expectations

People have very low expectations for teenagers in the Christian context and it’s absurd. We have such high expectations for kids in terms of school—kids are learning foreign languages, taking college-level physics, and holding important leaderships roles, like being team captains or leading service projects. And yet in the church we regard teenagers like they’re toddlers. I think we need to elevate our expectation of what kids can actually do in a church.

Historically, one of the failures of youth ministry is that kids have not been viewed as potential contributors in the church, and that is a disservice to them and to the church as a whole. We need kids to learn how to be real church members, and we need kids to have good ecclesiology—a good theology of the church.

A Role to Play

One of the best ways churches can do that is to give kids meaningful roles in their church where they’re actually contributing in a real way. That helps kids understand that to be a member of a church is to be a servant—it’s contributing to God’s ministry in this parish or in this congregation.

We need kids to learn how to be real church members, and we need kids to have good ecclesiology—a good theology of the church.

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