No one needs reminding that we are facing a possible political shift, a continuing, unprecedented COVID crisis, and a more secular and ungodly society where believers are pressured to accept sin as normal and right. We adults rave about these issues on Facebook (MeWe or Parler anybody?) by posting videos, links, and articles by our favorite experts. I hope you didn’t forget that as we adults fight and debate back and forth on these topics, your teenagers are caught in the midst. They are watching us, trying to evaluate the same issues, and attempting to decide where and why they should stand on political, moral, and COVID issues with the limited (and maybe biased or erroneous) facts that they do have. Some teenagers don’t even care about all the stuff you’re posting and debating about because they have other concerns that, at least in their minds, far outweigh the problem of who the next Supreme Court Justice is.
Young people (specifically here, the teenagers) in your family and/or youth group need help! And they need to be reached. Let me give you some needs/dangers in teenagers’ lives that the year 2020 has either magnified or revealed that won’t be going away very swiftly in 2021. Let me also include some ideas of how you as a parent, pastor, or youth director can help:
Danger: More screen time than ever. With more and more in-person activities being cancelled and the ability to interact with friends is diminished, it is natural for teenagers now to consume more screen hours than ever. This habit leads to great boredom, which can arouse impure desires that screens and internet can instantly gratify.
Help: Should you catch a young person breaking “screen curfew” or viewing morally inappropriate material, remind the teenager that God forgives sin—even frequent ones. And He doesn’t forgive based on our improvement; He forgives based on the lovingkindness of His character (Psalm 51:1-2). Practically, though, limit teenagers’ screen time where you can and require all screens to be viewed outside of the closed doors of bedrooms. Promote reading books and make every possible reason to be outside in the sunshine (Eph. 5:15-16).
Danger: Loneliness. You think you’re lonely? Can you imagine how your teenager feels? Your teen is at a point where being accepted by peers is huge! But there are no peers to be around. Their contact is probably very minimal other than messaging or video chat. Teenagers need in-person community!
Help: Where better to be involved in community than in your local church and youth group? Each church is different (especially depending on your state or local regulations right now). But do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together (Heb. 10:25). If there is any amount of in-person church services or youth group at your church, be there! Make it a #1 priority! If you have a safety concern, then keep your distance and wear a mask if needed. But don’t neglect the community that God has set up for believers to combat loneliness.