youthESource asked a couple teens, “What questions do you have about your faith, or about God? What questions are your friends asking? Where do you go for the answers? How could your church help?” Here’s what one of them had to say:
Something that I think is underestimated is how very hard it is to raise your hand in youth group.
I was firmly raised in the age of Google, and I know that the answers I can find about my religion on there are far from definitive. But it’s so much easier to ask the internet than it is to ask someone who actually knows me. It’s so much easier to sift through information I know better than to trust than to look my youth leaders in the eye and say, “Hey, my friends think we hate them, and to be honest I don’t blame them because historically we really haven’t been the best to the LGBTQIA+ community.”
It’s not just the eye contact that makes it hard. There’s the added worry about the other teenagers in the group. Even if they’re the nicest group of people in the world, the most understanding youth leaders you’ve ever met, you wonder if they’re going to laugh at you. If you’ll hear someone whisper something to one of their friends. If they’re going to think that you’re less of a Christian for having questions about what kind of bearing the Old Testament has on you following Jesus’ teachings.
The simple truth of it is that some of our questions won’t be asked anywhere but the internet. On the off chance they are, our friends usually won’t have the answers, either.
I find myself wishing, at times, for a website with unbiased, biblically supported answers from leaders that I can trust. Be it a forum or an ask.fm page, the option to find your answer as anonymously as you can on other corners of the internet is a piece of available technology that I wish more youth groups would make an effort to embrace.
What do you think, youth workers? Have you ever tried an online forum or ask.fm page? What things have you tried that have helped to answer your students’ questions?