As parents of four teenagers, Sarah and I constantly struggle with culture bombarding our children. Our kids are inundated by music, social media, television, and their friendships. We wrestle with the question, “How do we teach our kids to be in the world but not like the world?” So many young people are searching for something to belong to! They dress a certain way, listen to music that others like, participate in activities they otherwise wouldn’t—all for a feeling of belonging. They are really searching for relationship and community because that is how God has designed us.
God created within each person a desire to belong. So, how do we as parents of teenagers help our children navigate this desire? We, as a family, have chosen to open our home to our teenagers’ friends, whether they know Jesus or not. This sometimes leads to colorful conversation in our home or words that might not be used in our house otherwise. This philosophy of opening our doors to these young people has created unique opportunities to share God’s love.
Several months ago, my son invited one of his girlfriends over. As we hung out in the living room, with the television on in the background, we began talking casually. This young lady began to ask questions about what I do. I shared with her that I work at a church full-time. Her questions invited me to share the “why.” As the conversation continued, the door opened for me to share how I came into relationship with Jesus. The young lady didn’t come to know Jesus that night, but a seed of the gospel was planted, and I pray it will be watered and nurtured to salvation!
For many years, it was so easy to allow our kids to invite their “good” friends into the home. Funny that we would try to dictate who was “good” instead of allowing God to do that. The shift in our home has come through observing how Jesus pursued the lost. He didn’t come for the healthy but rather chased after the sick and needy. In fact, Luke 19:10 says, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” As we have continued to adopt this way of living, God has opened the doors for others like that young lady to enter into our faith community (home) to be known and loved. Sarah and I are so thankful that God sought us and saved us. We now want to offer that love to others and model to our children how to do that as well.
This month, take time to read through John 4. Here you see a great picture of Jesus allowing a woman who didn’t “believe” to “belong” in His presence, which ultimately led to her faith and acceptance into His family. Ask your teens whom they would want to bring into your home for the purpose of experiencing faith community.