Monday, May 6, 2013

Don't forget your ABCs

I am writing this week’s blog about an experience I have not yet experienced. Lest you think I have totally gone off my rocker, let me explain.

I leave on Friday afternoon to be a part of this year’s confirmation retreat* to Valle Crucis. Realizing I will probably be too whupped to write about the retreat Sunday afternoon, I decided to share my thoughts in anticipation, even before I board the bus.

I have noticed over the years how much things change but stay the same in the life of a young person. Today’s world is so different than the one most of us knew when we were in a confirmation class. As teenagers, we never dreamed about cell phones and iPads and iTunes. We also never gave a moment’s thought to a terrorist attack or a shooting in our school hallway. 

The cultural, spiritual and political landscape is constantly shifting, and our youth are on the front lines. I think they are pretty amazing, juggling all the demands that are placed on them in the midst of daily change. They deserve nothing but our applause and constant encouragement. 

Even though the world is not the same, I believe some things are universally true. For instance, if you ask me what our youth want today, I have a pretty good idea. 

A) Acceptance. Just like when we were teenagers, they want to be accepted for who they are and not what we keep trying to make them into. Funny, God accepts us as we are, but it’s hard for us to accept each other as we are. 

B) Belonging. Remember what it was like to be left out, ignored, passed over and not invited into the group? We were created for community, created to find a place where we know we belong, where we are loved. Few things are as painful as feeling left out. One of the most important marks of a great church is this sense of belonging; the best thing we can do for our youth is to let them know how much they belong and how the party wouldn’t be complete without them. 

C) Care. Everyone wants to know that someone cares. It is the kind of care that is unconditional, no strings attached. It requires a lot more listening than talking. It's less about following the rules and more about experiencing the love of Christ. Today’s youth need to know someone is in their corner. 

Sardis is blessed with terrific parents, dedicated youth leaders and advisors and amazing confirmation teachers who not only faithfully teach the Bible, but do something more…they never forget their ABCs.

*Find photos from the retreat on the Sardis Youth Facebook page.


  1. I think Sardis has wonderful people in leadership with our youth. I pray that they never forget their ABCs! Today's youth are just too important to neglect.

  2. Thank you for this. I have an unchurched niece who is reaching out due to problems at home and school. It is a delicate situation, as her mother would not approve of any intervention on my part. Praying for guidance.