To end this series of my reflections from the groundSWELL online conference (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4) , I wanted to share a comment I’ve thought a lot about since I heard a high school senior share it last Thursday. When asked what the church needs to be addressing that they’re not, he responded with a few ideas, many of which revolved around “touchy” topics like sex, dating, homosexuality, etc. While I agree, it was what he said next, that really caught my attention:
“If it’s not talked about in [church] then we look at these issues not as something that belongs to God, but something that belongs to me. Why would I seek God in these issues if I never hear it talked about by the leaders in my church?”
As sad as this is, it seems very true and especially to an adolescent who is still figuring out what this whole “abstract thinking” thing is, it makes perfect logical sense. If something isn’t addressed by the faith mentors around me, then it must not be a big deal. Sadly, some of those issues that are most difficult to talk about are the ones in which we experience the most pain when we step outside of God’s design.
Having had time to reflect on all of what these students said, I’m not sure exactly where to go. In reality, much of what they shared wasn’t anything new to me. However, but I have been encouraged and challenged to keep trying. I’ve realized that I don’t have to know the answers and it’s okay to be unsure about how to approach a topic, but it’s not okay to ignore things that are hard. They want real, open, honest relationships that point them to Jesus. I’m pretty sure that’s what Jesus wants too and by His grace and with His strength, it can happen.
What topics do you think that the Church (as a whole, not necessarily a specific church) is really good at side-stepping when it might be better off for everyone if they’d address it straight on?