Recently, I’ve been doing a series with the Middle School students called “You’ve Got Questions” where the students will put a question in a box about God, religion, Satan, Sin and Hell and I will answer them as best I can through the talk time. I’ve done this series with several age groups spanning from ages 10 to 22 and am surprised at both the depth of the questions and the desire to hear the answers.
I fear too often the church ignores the questions of young people and this lack of answering causes several to walk away and seek their answers elsewhere.
Steve Jobs was such a person.
Recently I read an article by Gordon MacDonald in Leadership Journal entitled The Soul of Steve Jobs, where he asks the question: “What would it have taken to reach the Apple Founder’s core?”
He goes on to describe a scene mentioned in the highly acclaimed book on the life of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (titled Steve Jobs) where a 13 year old Steve asks his pastor at the time a question. Here’s the snippet:
“In July 1968 Life magazine published a shocking cover showing a pair of starving children in Biafara. Jobs took it to Sunday school and confronted the church’s pastor, ‘If I raise my finger, will God know which one I’m going to raise before I do it?’
“The Pastor answers, ‘Yes, God knows everything’.
“Jobs then pulled out the Life cover and asked, ‘Well, does God know about this and what’s going to happen to those children?’
“Steve, I know you don’t understand, but yes, God knows about that.'”
According to Isaacson, Jobs left church and never darkened another door. George MacDonald goes on to say in his article: “For the pastor, that brief exchange was likely incidental and forgettable. Yet, it was a turning point that would point Steve Jobs towards eastern philosophy.”
I, by my answers and reactions to questions that young people pose to me, have the power of turning people towards God, or away from God. This realization only encouraged me more in the You’ve Got Questions series because I realized for a long while I just kept teaching these young people what I thought they needed to hear…not what they thought they needed to hear.
It’s as if much of Youth Ministry and Ministry to Young Adults has become an airplane safety check, when these young people are in cars and could care less about airplane safety at the moment.
I realized from doing these series that I was not tapping the nerve that needed tapped, but rather smacking things around that weren’t necessary to smack.
Ever feel like you’re not speaking to your audience? Yeah, I’ve been there and in a lot of ways…we’re probably NOT speaking to them.
I felt so compelled with the series that I’ve decided to write a book about the answers I’ve researched and come up with…BUT I desire you’re input too! I will be posting random questions here on the blog and seeking good, Godly answers to them and I will definitely put the best into the book, with the proper credit.
This generation desires to be heard and answered. They are willing to sit and listen to the answers to their questions…and ask more along the way! Tomorrow, I will post the first question!