Pointing Preteens to Jesus

I confess that I am a coffee addict. It all started a few years ago when the church I worked at had really good free coffee – all day long, everyday. We even had 3-4 various flavors of creme to choose from. I got hooked pretty quickly. Lately, I’ve been exercising more often and am becoming aware of how little water my body gets. Because I drink coffee & now exercise, I am more aware of my need for water. The older I get, the harder it is for me to distinguish thirst from hunger. As a result, I often eat when I should be drinking water. But it never satisfies and the side effects include a bigger waistline. Only when I drink a few glasses of ice cold water does my body get what it needs. Ahhh!

Preteens are the same way. Their souls thirst for a relationship God. Often, they don’t recognize this thirst for God, so they go to other things. Here are some common things preteens go to instead:

Sports & other activities
Video games
Friends & approval from peers
Stuff & the things money can buy
Good looks

Our job as preteen leaders is to point preteens to Jesus. Our goal is to live out and talk about having a thriving ongoing relationship with the creator of the universe. We point out how God gives us purpose and fulfillment. How he can speak to us and guide us in life. We don’t need to bash anything on the above list, but simply communicate that those things will never satisfy. Only Jesus satisfies the longing we have deep in our souls.

Christianity isn’t about rules, religion or rituals. It’s about a personal relationship with Jesus. It’s not even about sin, it’s about Jesus. As we walk with God and choose to follow Him, the Holy Spirit changes us from the inside out.

This is the message preteens need to hear. They need to see that message lived out in the lives of their leaders. They’re mature enough to process this message and are able to walk with God on their own. Only water will satisfy the thirst our body has for it. Only Jesus fulfills the hunger we have for Him. Preteens, deep down, crave God. It’s our job to point them to Him.

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Over twelve years ago Nick Diliberto lauched a preteen ministry with a handful of volunteers and about 25 kids. Over the years it grew to over 100 kids and has impacted hundreds of young people's lives. Nick is the driving force behind PreteenMinistry.net, Children's Director at La Jolla Presbyterian Church, workshop speaker and author of an ongoing preteen column in Children's Ministry Magazine.