Tyler started having doubts at the same time as many of us do – halfway through high school.
Raised in a Christian family, he didn’t mind the church community, the morning teas, even the sermons … but things didn’t quite add up for him. And that’s before youth group started becoming “boring”.
“I still considered myself a Christian and participated in the small groups while I was there, but I was losing interest and stopped coming,” Tyler recalls.
Sadly, it’s becoming more common for teens in Tyler’s position all around the country to drift further and further away from their faith in late high school. Around 40 per cent of young people walk away from church by the time they leave home.
So many young Christians feel that their faith is at odds with the way the world tells them to live their lives … and new challenges like the coronavirus only increase their uncertainty.
Josh spent one-on-one time walking with Tyler through this period of disinterest.
Society says Christian ideas are outdated and unwelcome. Young people hear these messages the loudest, and they’re the most vulnerable to being swept away by the culture around them.
And it’s never clearer than in moments of crisis, like now, that our children and youth need faithful Christian role models to help disciple them through times of heightened anxiety.
Thanks to friends like you supporting Youthworks, Tyler’s youth minister Josh — a graduate of Youthworks College — was equipped and able to step alongside Tyler during his personal period of disinterest.
Josh says, “Although Tyler had so much knowledge about the gospel, it just wasn’t making an impact in his life. He wasn’t committing to own his faith. It was hard for me to watch as a youth minister.”
But Josh persevered and built a good relationship with Tyler, eventually inviting him to attend a Youthworks conference for young people, Leaders in Training.
“Leaders in Training had a huge impact on him,” Josh says. “He was really convicted to start taking his faith seriously, and after the conference he started coming back to youth group more regularly.”
Josh encouraged Tyler to take up some service roles so he could use his God-given talents, find his purpose and feel connected.
Now, Tyler is heavily involved with his youth group, even leading his peers through serving on the AV desk and running the prayer group.
“This year he is such a key part of the young leadership of our youth group. His commitment has changed dramatically,” says Josh.
Tyler knows that without the discipling presence of Josh in his life, he may well have walked away from church entirely.
At this time when many churches are struggling to resource their ministries and keep their young people connected and engaged in the life of the church, it’s vital that we invest now to equip parents – and youth and children’s leaders – to disciple them effectively on the path to follow Jesus.
It was thanks to friends like you investing in youth ministry, through Youthworks, that Josh was equipped by Youthworks College to help Tyler walk through the challenges of being a young Christian.
Now, Tyler is passionate about helping his peers persevere with following Jesus, even as it’s becoming more and more difficult to do.
“Tyler is always challenging and encouraging his peers to ask and answer the hard questions about their faith,” shares Josh, “It’s wonderful to see him set such a great example that’s so much like Jesus.”
Sadly, Tyler’s story is not always the norm and new challenges like COVID-19 constantly present themselves. That’s why Youthworks exists, to help build an effective youth and children’s ministry in every church that will grow young people in belonging to Christ and his church for eternity.
Even now, in the constantly changing state of play surrounding coronavirus, Youthworks continues to equip and train ministry leaders with online learning through Youthworks College and digital publications … to see churches grow and flourish by investing in the discipleship of our young people.
Your prayers and support are crucial in passing on the baton of faith from one generation to the next — to strengthen their faith and inspire them to follow Christ through all the ups and downs of life!
Thank you for building a rock-solid faith in young people like Tyler by investing in youth and children’s ministries through Youthworks and ensuring these ministries continue beyond the pandemic to orient young people to Christ for life!