In Defense of God
That’s what we called our Wednesday night series on a handful of big questions students were asking in our youth ministry. Why does God seem so mad in the Old Testament? How could a good God send people to hell? It felt like a black hole of ever-gathering doubt. We thought we would teach our way out of that hole by helping students learn better answers, or at least the best answers we could come up with.
That was 1999. And while I’m sure this approach honored the questions, looking back now I wish we had done less “defending” of God and more letting God be God. More freedom to process and explore.
Less answers. More conversations.
Not that answers are all bad, but when we start with the answers, we short-circuit the process of growth that young people need if faith is going to become their own. Our Sticky Faith research highlighted the importance of asking questions and sharing faith struggles. Students who felt like they had a safe place to be authentic about these doubts actually showed stronger faith across the transition out of high school.
This week we release Volume 2 of Can I Ask that? More Hard Questions about God and Faith. The biggest response we heard from Volume 1 was “Give us more questions!” So we went to leaders and students to help us nail down another set of pressing topics young people want to explore:
- Is it wrong to doubt God?
- Is hell real? How could God send someone there?
- Can I do something so bad God won’t forgive me?
- Why do bad things happen to good people?
- Is sex outside marriage wrong?
- Why is it so awkward to talk about Jesus with my friends?
Designed for small group sessions, this field tested Leader Guide/Student Guide pairing is also perfect for Sunday School curriculum, retreats and camps, intergenerational classes, parent/teenager discussions, and more. We are absolutely stoked to get this in your hands.
Because we don’t need to defend God. We just need to remember that God is in the questions. Our job is to help young people look without fear.