Christian discipleship is pivotal in the teen years. We are so used to training up our children when they’re very young, but then when they hit the pivotal growth point of the early teen years, they start to develop this desire for freedom and independence. When they get to that point in maturity we tend to think I should we step back. Should we let them take over? It's hard to decide where to push forward and where to hold back.
The Bible teaches that when Samuel was a child, he was growing in the knowledge of the Lord. Even Jesus, at age twelve, was growing in knowledge and favor with God and man. If it was pivotal for Jesus to do that when he was twelve, then I think that we would be wise to look at the years of twelve, thirteen, and fourteen and not say Okay, my job is done. I can check out.
Transition to Self-Feeding
My eleven-year-old son recently learned to mow the lawn. It would be very easy to say, “Here's the lawn mower. Get to work.” It's a really serious tool, so my husband went out back, taught him how to use the lawnmower, gave him all the safety tips.
When it comes to learning Scripture and trying to make sense of how to navigate in the church context, teens need a grownup to come alongside.
When we look at growing in godliness, one of the things that we would do well as parents to realize, is that there is no other area outside of Christian discipleship where we say “Oh just figure out growth.”
We take our kids to the pediatrician to make sure that they’re growing in the right ways. At school, teachers give our kids tests to make sure that they’re understanding the concepts. And so, when it comes to learning Scripture and trying to make sense of how to navigate in the church context, teens need a grownup to come alongside—even though they are still trying to be independent. We are trying to transition them from being spoon-fed into self-feeding and so the teen years are pivotal for working to teach them to feed themselves on God’s Word.
There are two pretty big things that young people have to face when trying to follow Christ in a post-Christian world.
There have been three items that have formed the backbone of the church’s catechesis: the Apostle’s Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments.
Disciple-making is helping others to see Christ for what he is