If you could ask God any question, what would it be?

Kara Powell | Apr 21, 2015

Photo by greg pths.

If you could ask God any question, what would it be?

That’s a question I love asking teenagers.

It’s worked so well for me that I encourage leaders and parents to try it out also.

My friend Carlos decided to give it a shot with his small group of middle school boys. At first, they said nothing. Crickets. And fidgeting. So Carlos distributed index cards and pencils and let the boys write down their questions. It worked.

Carlos showed me the stack of index cards so I could see them myself. I flipped through them; they were the types of questions I normally hear. Except one.

This middle school boy had written, “Why would God allow half my family to die?”

Carlos saw the card I was staring at. He touched the card and said, “It was my son who wrote that card.”

It had been a terrible two years for Carlos’ family. First his daughter died of a congenital heart disease. Then his mom died, and then his sister. No wonder Carlos’ middle school son felt like half of their family had died. But he had never said it that way out loud.

Sometimes we don’t know what our young people are wondering. Until we ask them.

That’s why I’m so thrilled that FYI is releasing Can I Ask That? Volume 2. The response to the first Can I Ask That? curriculum has been so strong that we wanted to give leaders and families additional tools to use to help young people wrestle with their toughest faith questions.

I love the questions we’re addressing.

  • 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?

In our families and our churches, students are asking these questions, with or without us. I’d rather it be with us.

What else do you do or say to try to help young people open up about their big questions and doubts?

Purchase your copy of the new curriculum

A family’s experience with Can I Ask That?

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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