young teen faith development

my latest “middle school ministry” column for youthworker journal is online now (from the march 2010 issue). the column is about two interactions i had with my son max, who’s 12, that — combined — really provide a snapshot into the stuff of early adolescent faith development.

here’s a link to the article.

here’s a tease:

I frantically was interchanging my dad hat with my junior high youth worker hat, back and forth, trying to figure out the right thing to say. Then Max said, “I hope this doesn’t make you mad, Dad, but I don’t think I want to be a pastor like you.”

3 thoughts on “young teen faith development”

  1. I’m currently an out-of-work youth pastor. We’ve been attending a church, and my 12 year old has been attending the youth group. He’s really connected with the youth pastor. Recently, with tears in his eyes, after I had chewed him out for something or other, he said, “Dad, can I talk with Pastor John about this? I think he has a better perspective on how I can handle this well.” He was so afraid of hurting me because we have always been able to talk things out that he was crying, yet honest enough to tell me he needed a third ear. While I’m sad that I somehow didn’t hear him well, I’m thankful and excited that he has that third ear, that he’s willing to be honest with me about how he’s feeling, and that he’s learning that he needs others besides dad to talk to in order to hear God’s voice and direction. Thanks for showing us your parenting when it seems like you don’t have it all together, MarkO.

  2. My hope and dream in the next few years (my oldest is 9) is for an amazing small group leader for him who will do for him what I did for many over the years. It’s something I’m praying about a ton.

    I’d even like it if Marko was his leader. But we’d probably have to have a serious talk first. :)

  3. What a great article!
    My son David was baptized about 5 years ago, same age as Max and we had one of those deep conversations in the car before we got out as well. He had one last kind of hesitation moment.
    Anyway, thanks buddy.

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