Meeting students exactly where they are
Photo by Khushroo Ghadiali.
Today’s guest contributor is Lisette Fraser, a wife, mom of 2 middle school students, and a 16 year youth ministry veteran serving as Pastor of Student & College ministries at Glenkirk Church in California.
I think the thing I love most about youth ministry is walking alongside students as they discover faith. Sometimes this happens in unexpected ways. For example, I’ve been blessed to serve as a volleyball coach in a local school. Through the relationships I’ve built with these girls, a few of them started coming to church and have even made deeper faith decisions.
One of my greatest joys is leading a small group with these gals. We meet every other week to pray, study, and do life together. I love these girls and I want them to have an open, honest, and deep faith. We have tried to provide a space where they feel safe, where they know they can ask any question, and where they are invited to discover faith on their own.
After Bible study one night, I asked the girls to share any questions they had about God and faith. What was surprising was how incredibly articulate and thoughtful they were in response. They wondered things like the validity of the Bible, how God feels about women, where science and faith meet, and how God sees all kinds of different people.
Looking back over their list, I laughed when I realized that the questions they were asking were the same questions addressed in Can I Ask That?
As we’ve worked through the book, I love that it meets each student, no matter where they are on their faith journey. I’ve got gals with a committed faith, others with no idea of what faith is, and everything in between. And yet each student has been captivated by the content of Can I Ask That? They love the book, the layout and, most importantly, how easy it is to engage. It is thoughtfully written in a way that levels the playing field. No one knows more than anyone else, and together we have a guide to thoughtful conversation.
The first week of our series we looked at the question, “What is the Bible, anyway?” A couple of students in our group got their first Bibles ever as Christmas gifts this year, and it was so cool to see them growing closer to Jesus by discovering the background of his Word. At the same time, a couple of our girls who had grown up in the church had the opportunity to make another significant step in the journey of making faith their own.
Each of us learns each week. We laugh, we argue, we wonder, and we learn. And no questions are off limits.