Guest post by Alex McElroy
“I don’t want to be a Christian!” “I don’t believe in God!” “My teacher said God doesn’t exist!” These are the words no Youth Pastor ever wants to hear. The thing about truth is that it’s true no matter who decides to believe it. Reality works the same way. The story of reality put forth by the Bible actually corresponds to reality. Unfortunately, our children are bombarded with alternate worldviews, some of which bare no resemblance to reality and some of which contain elements of reality. Asking a 6 or 7 year old to decipher between every worldview presents a lot of difficulties. Even teenagers and many adults struggle with this task.
I’ve begun teaching my 6-year old apologetics. Granted, I’m in a unique position to do so, having studied and taught the various evidences for Christianity over many years. The cultural climate of our times, however, dictates that all parents need to become something of an apologist. When I’m talking with my 6-year old, I’m not teaching her the cosmological argument, the teleological argument or the anthropic principle but I help her to think critically. A video series created by apologist Jim Warner Wallace found at coldcasechristianityforkids.com provides a way of communicating truths about the Christian worldview as well as how to examine other worldviews. Through this and other tools my daughter has begun to understand the world around her and make sense of her place in it – based on God’s perspective.
How do you know Christianity is true? (Don’t worry it is and I can prove it.) How do you explain the resurrection in your own words to your child or anyone who doesn’t believe? Have you ever thought about why you believe what you believe? Many Christians have never done this. Remember this – God can handle your questions. Likewise, when our kids have doubts, we can’t run from their questions or brush them off. If you do, they will find someone else to answer them and the enemy will position someone to give them an answer that does not align with the truth. Only in the Christian worldview is truth not simply a concept but a person. This means that when we have questions, there is a God (a person) on the other end who can handle those questions and provide answers.
Naturalism says there is no one to ask. Modern spirituality says look within and ask yourself. Agnosticism doesn’t know if there is anyone to ask. Islam says don’t you dare ask. Eastern spirituality says, don’t ask, just do. The God of the Bible says, “I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!” (Isaiah 65:24 NLT). Vince Vitale of RZIM said, “If every question is in essence a search for truth and Jesus claimed to be the truth then every question is an opportunity to share some truth about Jesus.”
THE TRUTH IN LOVE
How we communicate what we communicate is just as important as the communication itself. Instead of telling our kids the stories contained in the Bible we could present several options and allow them to figure out what makes more sense. For example, the law of non-contradiction let’s us know that two opposing truths cannot both be true in the same time and space. In regards to the creation of the universe we have two choices: either something came from nothing (atheism/naturalism/materialism) or something came from someone (creation by a Creator). Einstein’s theory of relativity and later Robert Wilson and Arno Penzias’ discovery of the radiation afterglow in the early universe (1965) conclusively proved that the universe had a beginning. And according to Einstein’s theory, there must be an uncaused first cause. Every beginning has a beginner. So, logically, the question becomes – Who was present at the beginning?
Since we love our kids, we should always aim to give them the evidence and allow the truth to come forth. Natasha Crain said, “the time and consideration we give to our kids’ faith development is an investment, not a purchase.”
THE LOVE OF TRUTH
The better job we do as Youth Pastors of communicating and demonstrating the truths of Jesus and His Kingdom, the more our children will fall in love with the truth. Truth is embodied in the person of Jesus Christ, which means to love truth is to love Christ. Jesus told Pilate, “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Additionally, it is difficult to love anyone or anything with whom you are not intimately connected. Are your kids intimately connected to the Word of God or to Sunday school? Are they intimately connected to religious tradition or to a relationship with the God of the Word? We present them with the object of their affection and allow them to gradually fall in love with the source of objective truth. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:6-7). Our goal is to allow the heart of God to become our heart and then to transfer it to their heart.
“That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ” (Eph. 4:14-15).
Alex McElroy is an international speaker, teacher, author and blogger and the Pastor of Education at New Life Covenant Southeast Church, led by Pastor John F. Hannah. For over 12 years Alex has served in both youth and teaching ministries. Alex also trains hundreds of teachers and ministers so they are equipped to deliver lessons in Biblical study, purpose, leadership and Apologetics in order to maximize their effectiveness in and for the Kingdom of God. He is a firm believer that everyone is born on purpose with a purpose. He teaches people all over the world to find the purpose God has placed inside of them and to deliver it to the world.