I have had the opportunity to serve with teenagers in this church for almost ten years now. I love teenagers! From my adolescence and college experiences to my time serving in this community, I am convinced, more and more every day, that there are three things that every teenager needs in their life. Are you curious?
I believe that every teenager needs:
- Quality time with their PARENT every day. They need open space to hang out with their parent, to ask hard questions, and to be a family together. Teenagers need their parent to regularly encourage them.
- Adults who MODEL what it looks like to be a gracious, growing human. This could look like a teacher who instills a passion for a subject. Or it could be a coach who teaches their players how to be a good sport no matter the game’s outcome. It could also be a neighbor who shovels the snow for an elderly neighbor and demonstrates citizenship.
- At least one MENTOR. I believe that parents are the most important influence in the life of their child. In addition to this, every teen will benefit from having “another person” they can talk to. This can be a family friend, neighbor, coach, or someone they call “mentor.” We believe so much in mentoring at Bloomingdale Church that we have a program designed just for mentoring called The Mentoring Project. (mentor.bloomingdalechurch.org)
I believe in what I am asking you to consider because I see the great benefit it gives, especially to teenagers. Even more, I believe that Jesus modeled this with His life and therefore it is fair for Him to ask us to do the same. If you believe in Jesus and want to act upon your relationship with Him, then I believe our only option is to make the daily choice to care about people.
[This is an excerpt from Daniel Riemenschneider’s talk at the 2014 Winter Banquet. You can see the entire video of the entertainment portion, including this talk, at bloomingdalechurch.org/winterbanquet.]