Home Youth Leaders Articles for Youth Leaders Why Teenagers Struggle to Develop Spiritual Habits

Why Teenagers Struggle to Develop Spiritual Habits

Partnering With Parents Is a Must, But Can Be Hit or Miss

We have to work together with parents to lead students to develop spiritual disciplines, especially with younger students. However, there are a ton of parents who care about their teenager’s spiritual habits but either A) do not feel equipped to shepherd their children (which is another post for another day), or B) are just really, really busy.
I tend to shake my head at these parents. But, I need to be more understanding. There are parents in your youth ministry with two or three children in high school. These parents have careers. They also have one child in the band, one in show choir and one playing football. By the time they chauffeur and organize and provide meals and make sure homework is done, all after working a long day, they are whipped. And sometimes they don’t have the energy to spend making sure their children have spent meaningful time in Scripture on a particular day.
Is this ideal? No. But it’s reality in many cases. For several reasons, we don’t always get to benefit from the kind of teamwork we’d like to see when it comes to helping develop good spiritual habits in the students we lead.

Our Own Sin-Nature

Let’s not forget that in our hearts, our students and ourselves have a default lean toward selfishness and rebellion. We don’t always seek God. We oftentimes seek our own comfort. Left to their own designs, our students would rather watch The Voice or play Call of Duty or read about our favorite team on Rivals.com than commune with God in prayer and Bible Study. It’s why it’s called spiritual discipline. It takes effort. And as we work with students who are young in their faith, we will encounter this even more.

So, what can we do? Keep plugging away.

I want to see my students grow in Christ. I want to see your students do the same. And though I want it now, I know it will come. I trust in the Holy Spirit and His ability to empower all of us toward spiritual maturity. So, encourage your students to hang in there. And you do the same. Recognize the challenges, but don’t be overwhelmed by them, and don’t use them as an excuse.  

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Andy Blanks is the co-founder of youthministry360, a ministry committed to equipping youth workers through resources, training, community, and networking. Andy is passionate about God’s Word and the transformation it brings in the lives of God’s people. Andy is a writer, teacher, speaker, and a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan. He lives in Birmingham, AL with his wife and three daughters. Check out Andy’s youth ministry posts on the ym360 Blog (www.youthministry360.com/blog).