We want to reach the kids we teach. We want our own kids to be excited about the Lord and His Word … but sometimes we don’t know if we’re getting anywhere. What are they thinking? Especially those who are in their teens. What’s going on in their heads?
I had the opportunity to interview a 15-year-old. He’s a sophomore in a public high school, gets decent grades, and is active in sports and especially enjoys running 5ks. After school he works at a local fast food restaurant and on Sundays, he’s at church.
He’s also a preacher’s kid which he doesn’t mind.
I first asked if he was sure he had trusted Christ as Savior.
Yes, it all clicked sometime when I was 13 or 14. I had heard it all my life, but that’s when I started listening, really listening to my dad’s messages. Then my running time gave me a lot of time to think and I would go over what I had heard in my mind.
Who had the most spiritual influence in your life?
My dad. He’s my father and my pastor. He told me I could ask him anything and I usually have at least one question a week. He’s always willing to answer,
Is it difficult being a pastor’s kid?
No. Sometimes at school kids will tease me and ask why I won’t swear or anything, but I’ve learned to ignore them. That doesn’t bother me.
Who is your favorite Bible character?
Lazarus. I like how he came alive after he died.
What is your favorite verse?
I like Matthew 5:9 – Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. This is a good verse to remember when I’m not feeling peaceful, or when I cause chaos.
You mentioned that your father was your biggest spiritual influence? What does he do that influences you?
I see him depend on the Lord during the hard times. Also, when I was about four or five, we started reading the Bible together. At first we would just read a few verses and then he’d explain them to me. Later we read entire chapters and then we’d talk about what we read.
What difference does being a Christian make to you when you walk down the halls of your high school?
Being a Christian makes a difference in how I act. It helps me have the courage to drop out of things I shouldn’t do. Also, in how I deal with things. If I get upset about something and get down, I remember what I have in Christ and that I have eternal life and I tell myself, “Let’s go!”
What advice would you give parents?
Well, I think kids need to be punished. Kids need to know the difference between right and wrong. But at the same time, you can’t hover over them, they need to make their own mistakes sometimes and earn their independence,
Then you need to check yourself in front of your child. What are they seeing? If they see you make wrong choices, they’ll think it’s okay because their parents do those things. If you make a bad choice, let them know that you’re working on fixing it.
What would you tell parents whose teens don’t want to go to church?
I think some kids just sit there being bored. You need to talk with them about what they heard. You need to talk to them one-on-one and find out what they don’t understand. Take an interest in what they’re learning.
Talking to a 15-year-old was fun … I hope you too got good insight into a teenager’s mind,