It’s always important to provide solid instruction and guidance for people, no matter what their age. But the teenage years are especially crucial. Their bodies change; they generally experience a broader, more differentiated exposure to the world; and their own thinking becomes more sophisticated.
Living Stones, the youth group at Living Hope strives to meet the challenges and glories of adolescence very simply. There are three basic facets to our ministry: solid biblical teaching, edifying fellowship and just plain fun.
Sadly, in our day, it is the exceptional child who knows the Bible. In addition to the woeful lack of biblical literacy in the church, there is also a startling lack of theological understanding. This theological shallowness is extremely dangerous. Relativism absolutely pervades television, movies and education, to name only a few of the places our children are going to be taught that truth is a matter of perspective. I believe that every child who is discipled by the church should not only be able to explain and share his faith, but he should also be able to defend it.
As children enter adolescence, their thinking becomes more sophisticated. They begin to ask good, but challenging questions. The simplistic answers of their early years no longer suffice. They thirst for truth in all its complexity. Living Stones gives it to them.
Sanctification is a communal endeavor. God has not given any individual every gift. Rather, he equips a congregation, one person having this gift, another having that. Only together are we considered a body (1 Co. 12.12-31). A hand without a body or a head without a body is a monstrosity. But mere membership or association is not sufficient for growth. The social component of our ministry strives to train children to consider others more important than themselves – something that runs counter to every fiber of our natural being. It strives to train children to appreciate those with whom we differ – especially those who are more difficult to enjoy and appreciate (1 Co. 12:23-24). We try to have a fellowship that is open and honest, and mutually concerned for the spiritual well-being of every member of the group. One of the chief ways this is accomplished is through regular, kingdom-minded prayer for one another.
It’s not last because it’s least. It’s at the heart of all we do. The Christian life is the life God intended for us. Only in obedience and submission to God can we find true fun and fulfillment. But the fun and fulfillment we find blows the doors off of any counterfeit the world or Satan can offer.
And that’s important. Kids will gravitate to a group. It is essential for their spiritual development that our kids gravitate to a group of other like-minded believers. And so we need to make our social group the most attractive one. So, while white water rafting may not sound very spiritual, if it forms one of the fond memories of, or stimulates commitment to the Christian community, then it is of extreme long-term and spiritual significance.
So if you want hard-core, leave-the-Mickey-Mouse-stuff-behind truth, if you want a group who knows the real you, if you want to taste real fun, the fun God intended, then Living Stones is for you.
So, who is “in” Living Stones?
6th – 12th graders are welcome. We meet together for fun and fellowship, then split up for the teaching component. This year, 6th and 7th are together and 8th – 12th are together. Beginning next year, the breakdown will be 6-8th grades and 9th-12th grades. If that’s you (or your child), I encourage you to join us. We meet at various homes, so let me know you are interested and I’ll get you plugged in.