Why Lent matters? Why is it important for your youth to know about and observe it?
I think it is incredibly important to teach young people about Lent because this season can take us on a journey through a deeper understanding of our faith, ourselves, and our God. We begin the season of Lent with a posture of lowliness on Ash Wednesday as we remember our human frailties. I actually look forward to Ash Wednesday as it really reminds me of my own need for a Savior! This is a critical concept for the young to embrace, particularly in a culture that can sometimes over-emphasize the strength of humanity (void of God’s power) and under-represent our failures and sinfulness. It is as if people don’t even like to talk about sin–and this happens in the Church. I hear too much theology and preaching these days that is entirely too human-focused, and that lacks teaching on the Christian values of confession, forgiveness, prayer, and fasting. It’s like our ministry is being turned into motivational speaking that does not deal with the realities of our broken existence and our need for salvation and redemption.
Instead of teaching them to overlook their shortcomings and pretending they don’t exist, we should teach our youth to offer their broken selves to the Savior who is able and willing to help them. In this way, we move past the sort of surface-artificial youth programming into the messy, dirty, hard work of youth ministry. For we can truly be redeemed by the blood of Christ and changed into who God always desired us to be by the power of the Spirit.
Minister to Youth and Families
Metropolitan AMEZ, Kansas City, MO
Chair youTheology Advisory Board
Loving God, Loving Neighbor