What do teenage girls need from the church?
March 8, 2018
This year I have had the privilege of working in youth with the girls at WEFC. I can often be found sitting in a Starbucks with junior high or high school gals chatting about life, relationships and Jesus. As a recent grad of the teenage years, and after spending a significant amount of time discipling teenage girls this fall and winter, I have gleaned a few thoughts on what teenage girls are looking for from the church. These are things that are important to anyone regardless of their age, yet I believe these three are exceptionally crucial for today’s young woman.
#1: Genuine Relationships
Everyone longs to be heard, known and valued: and the same is true with girls. Most often, they aren’t looking for you to have a solution to their problem, but that you’re willing to sit with them walk with them, let them wrestle it out. Are you an aunt, female older cousin/friend, or mentor to a teenage girl? Intentionally connect with her… Starbucks is always a win! Listen, encourage, pray. Not every conversation needs to be a super deep and dramatic emotional moment, but every interaction builds a relationship that God might be using to shape a girl’s heart.
#2: Authenticity in the Church
In a culture that is busier than ever, it’s important that teenagers grow up knowing that God is not bound to the four walls of 500 Lagimodiere Blvd. Girls want to see that a relationship with Jesus can transform your life and your way of doing things, and that life with Jesus is not a list of binding rules but a freedom-giving relationship. Students have a desire to see real life meet Christianity, to see individuals who are passionate about what they believe and how it actually fits with their daily living. It’s putting skin on a concept viewed as stale and stagnant by the outside world. Genuine faith is attractive. If you got it: share it! Give life to those around you.
In my youth ministry travels, I’ve heard it said that the trajectory a student is on while they’re in junior high is the trajectory they will still be on in 15 years! While that isn’t true in every case, our junior high kids need investing into. Encourage them to start reading their Bibles now, that Jesus can change their lives today, and that making the most out of their lives starts this instant. Point them to the truth found in the Bible.
I believe most girls wrestle with finding a solution to emptiness: something that a large portion of the 21st century church is also struggling with. This comes in a lot of different forms: loneliness, depression, low self-worth and anxiety. While we can suggest all the solutions and programs in the world, ultimately Jesus Christ alone is “what works” and what “will work”; because he alone can heal and satisfy. On our own, we cannot fix all the problems teenage girls face, but our Jesus sure can.
Take some time this week to pray for the young women of our church, and ask God's how he would use you to provide genuine relationship, authenticity and truth to the next generation.