How Faith-based Friendships Fuel Spiritual Growth

As a youth ministry leader, what do you notice about the youth you encounter? What do you think they’re after? If you could discover what they need most, how would this influence the conversations you have with them?

What if you knew that youth and young adults really need friendships built around faith? And what if you knew that you–yes you–are in the best position to help them develop these friendships? How do we know that this is a relevant need? Well, let’s discuss some trends affecting youth and we’ll see where that takes us: 

Let’s start by looking at how youth experience solitude. Loneliness is part of the human condition, so of course people experience it at one point during their teens and young adult life. But what may surprise you is that youth are actually the loneliest people in society

A worldwide cross-cultural study revealed that out of all age groups surveyed, 16-24 year olds reported feeling lonely the most. And what exactly is loneliness? According to respondents of this survey, it is having no one to talk to, feeling out of touch, feeling excluded and misunderstood. 

Does this sound like something your teens are feeling? 

Another condition youth may face is a deep feeling of apathy. On the one hand, many students are energetic and passionate about changing the world. Justice and equality are things many in this generation are working towards. But what about others who may feel apathetic and out of touch with these topics? Or what about the fact that fifty percent of millennials think it’s wrong or disrespectful to share their faith with nonbelievers; what does this lack of enthusiasm for the gospel tell us? 

This apathy may result from low-expectations from other groups. Hannah Granowski of Generation Distinct explains, “if we continue this cycle in the church—the younger generation lacking boldness, the older generation having low expectations of the following generation—evangelism will eventually die, and our world will sorely suffer from its absence.” If youth are not challenged to value and share the gospel, the result is what you as a ministry leader may see quite often – a generation who is interested in changing the world, but disconnected to the One who pioneered social justice and invites us to pursue life with him.

Youth in your ministry may experience loneliness and disinterest in growing and sharing their faith. But here’s an idea: if students are lonely and disinterested in sharing the gospel, what if their need is to develop fulfilling friendships around faith? Around a faith in Jesus that is compelling and adventurous? 

This is where the #GoVoke tour can help you take steps to meet your students’ specific needs.  

The #GoVoke tour challenges youth to be proactive in building friendships and growing their faith.The first step of the #GoVoke tour is us coming to your youth group. We then show teens how they can connect with their friends via the Voke app. The Voke app uses direct messaging and video to help teens connect. But it also shows them how to have deeper conversations about life and faith. 

Together, they can explore life’s deep questions like, “how did we get here?”; “Is God good?”;, “are chrsitans hypocrites?” and more. The goal isn’t to find the perfect answers to these questions. Rather, it’s admitting that life is a complex adventure. Faith isn’t irrelevant, but rather a journey where we can explore deeper topics together and discover what Jesus says about the deepest questions and longings of our hearts. This helps youth understand two things: first, that walking with Christ is an adventure, and second, that the journey gets more exciting when you have friends to experience it with.

The #GoVoke tour is a direct response to youths’ needs. Our goal and prayer is that when we leave, your youth are empowered to connect with their friends in a meaningful way and discover that walking with Christ is an adventure. Book the #GoVoke tour while you can; you only have until September 25.  Click here to book the tour today!

4 Things You Can Do on Black Friday (Instead of Shopping)

I’ve never been one to get caught up in the hustle of Black Friday shopping.

Nah, I’d much rather get caught up in the hustle on the week of Christmas.

Seriously though — If your pace does slow down a bit (and you aren’t too coma-tose from all the food from Thanksgiving Day), here are 4 things you can do on Black Friday (…instead of Shopping):

1. Spend time with family and friends — I really look forward to the holidays because it’s always a sure-fire time that I can spend extra time with those who really matter in my life. Take part of your day (or even the full day?) and just enjoy the ones you love.

2. Let the thankfulness continue — My timeline on Facebook was so refreshing on Thanksgiving day. Seeing everyone’s posts expressing their gratitude certainly made my day much more enjoyable. Why not let the “thankfulness” continue?  Spend your day on Friday encouraging others and by posting your gratitude. You’ll never know what that could mean to someone who needs to be refreshed.

3. Be a Giver — Black Friday has always been tailored for the “consumer,” but why not reverse that and be a total “giver” all day? One time I spent the morning of Black Friday handing out hot chocolate to people on the street who were headed to work (… er maybe to their favorite Department Store). People were struck that I was up so early to “serve” (or give to) them.  You can find ways to give to others throughout your day and make Black Friday mean so much more.

4. Just Rest — A wise friend of mine once told me that “sometime the most spiritual thing you can do is sleep.” Can I hear an Amen?  If you have time … just rest.  I can’t think of too many times where I said to myself “Gosh, I really regret resting so much.”

Tell me (in the comments) how you plan to spend your day?

Let me put some more inspiration in your email box each week … 

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