Highlight : How to respond when teens question faith

“I believe that we need to get excited when our teenager confesses their unbelief.”

You’ve raised your children in the church, taught them Bible verses, and prayed with them over the issues of their lives. And now they’re voicing doubt.

Randy Frazee of Oak Hills Church says this should be a cause for celebration rather than fear.

“All throughout their journey, they are really an appendage to us. They’re going to church, they don’t have a choice, they hear messages, they’re asking Jesus into their heart, they’re doing everything we say. But biologically when God’s wired their mind to think independent of you, they’re now going to have to process of all the stuff you’ve given them. How much are they going to embrace for themselves?”

Unless the promises and truths of Scripture become real for someone, they’ll forever be parroting without digesting. A decision needs to be made.

“Halfway between the head and the heart there is the mouth. Almost always from my observation, that journey halfway down involves a confession of unbelief.”

Too many teenagers are afraid to speak up because their parents might overreact or turn against them. Randy says we should welcome their questions with open arms and minds.

“The first time we hear our kids say ‘I don’t know if I believe in God,’ we need to clap and shout and say ‘We have been waiting for this day! We’re so grateful, because you’re halfway there.’”

Randy has more words for those living with doubt.

“Your confession of unbelief is your struggle to say ‘I don’t know if I believe this, but I want to have the conversation.’”

For parents whose identities are wrapped up in their children, this can be a hard leap to make. This often goes back to our own fear of failure as a parent.

“Why does it bother you? Because it’s an indictment that you’ve failed… I’m a pastor with several degrees in theology. When I was raising our kids, I felt like there’s so much more I could have done. And so for them not to believe felt like an indictment! But this is different. Their adolescent confession that they don’t believe, or they’re struggling to believe, means they’re engaging the journey.”

Randy Frazee is the senior minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Randy is the author of The Heart of The Story, The Connecting Church,Making Room for Life, The Christian Life Profile Assessment, Renovation of the Heart Student Editionand coauthored Real Simplicity with his wife, Rozanne. Randy and Rozanne, have four children and one granddaughter.

Key Scriptures: Luke 6:45

Featured Songs: Believe by All Things New; I Believe by Chris August; Sinking Ships by Lincoln Brewster

What do you believe?