What I’ve Learned About Teaching Teens From Chase // Part Four

Published on November 28, 2016 by John Woods  

Recently a minister and friend on staff at my church made a statement in front of students that began a conversation about the role of women in the church. “You really need to talk to Sally and Julie,” Chase whispered. “They’re really upset.” What followed was a passionate and articulate conversation about the value women have in ministry, and the important role they play in the church. But while Chase was certainly convinced this was true, he was more concerned with his friends. “They really need someone to talk to.”

I now try to at least acknowledge in rehearsal that the music we sing should spur us to noticing that all is not right with the world, and that injustice is simply an opportunity for us to be gracious hosts to the Kingdom of God wherever we are.

It’s becoming clear that I need an unlimited texting plan! After months and months of trying to do “Sticky Faith” with my student choir, I was convinced it was falling on deaf ears. And then, out of the blue, boom. Peter texted after school one day, “Started to listen to my old music and asked how can I trust God. Changed to Christian contemporary and honestly its pretty good.” Now, honestly, much of it is not quiet “good” in my opinion, but that’s not the point. It struck me several years ago, after reading the Sticky Faith book, that I was making things too moralistic for students, and so I shamelessly adopted this question from the book.

I now include in every rehearsal something that centers around the question, “How can I trust God right now?” So, when it’s time for Spring Break, or studying for exams, heading to prom, or internet access, I’m constantly inviting students to ask the question, “How can I trust God right now?”

In conclusion, for me, the answer is to view students as someone I’m serving. When I do that, I’m a better teacher, a better musician, and a better Christ-follower. I’m inspired by the students I serve, and am convinced that:

  • teens want to grow in their faith beyond simple answers
  • teens have a faith that can grow me
  • teens can often see ways they can trust Christ more fully
  • teens are eager to worship with adults who know they’re there
  • teens want their faith to be deeper than most adults expect
  • teens can’t stomach injustice
  • teens want to do the right thing