In all honesty, when this summer’s TNG apologetics camp for teens started I wasn’t sure what to expect. I doubted whether or not there were that many teenagers interested in apologetics and Christian worldview issues.
Teenage years in America are supposed to be marked by energy, enthusiasm, optimism and hope for a better society. Teenagers have this great ability to live in the moment and “enjoy the now.” I was concerned that the young people’s desire to socialize, hang out and have fun at camp would hinder their desire to go deep into worldview and biblical issues.
I quickly learned on the first night of camp that this would not be the case.
Teenagers, even Christian teenagers, are being pressed and pressured from all sides. In a March 19, 2019 article entitled “All the ways American teenagers are under enormous pressure to succeed.” Statistics were given from A Pew Research poll of 10,638 teens aged 13-17. The poll found that 60% of teens surveyed feel pressure to get good grades. 70% say that anxiety and depression are a major problem. More than 50% say alcohol and drug addiction are a major problem. 30% say they feel pressure to look good and fit in socially. There’s the pressure to get into the college they want, to choose a career, and to be “successful.” For far too many there is pressure due to brokenness in their family situations. And then there’s the stress for Christian teens who are constantly told in school and media that the Bible they believe is wrong when it comes to issues of morality, sex, and gender.
All this adds up to teenagers who are hungry for answers, hungry for truth, desperately desiring a God who is working despite all the statistics. Statistics can give us some facts about the present. But The Sovereign God provides us with truth for all eternity. What we saw at this summer’s TNG apologetics camp was teenagers ready to soak in some answers from God’s eternal, unchanging, objective truth.
I was so encouraged to see these teens wanting to worship, enjoying Christian fellowship, taking notes during sessions, and even asking the speakers deep questions between sessions. I’m not sugarcoating the difficulties they face. The difficulties and challenges to their faith were reflected in some of their questions during the Q and A panel time.
However, we saw teenagers leave camp at the end the week, strengthened and emboldened because they had been reminded that it all comes back to Christ. They were reminded that He loves them and that He died to offer them salvation. They were reminded that they can trust God’s word and that even though all their questions are not answered immediately; even though they haven’t picked a college; even though they don’t know their career path; no matter their body style or home situation, the Lord and His word can be trusted.
Friends, when faith in The Almighty, all-knowing, Eternal God is mixed with a youthful zest for life – keep an eye out because it’s going to be exciting to watch. There is hope. It’s not all doom and gloom among American teens. There are some growing, maturing, serving young followers of The King who are ready to stand boldly for Him
Dr. Tripp Harmon, Ministry Relations, Alex McFarland Evangelistic Ministries