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Your teenager has just come back from a camp, a conference, or a youth convention, and he can't stop talking about what God did in his life. Or she just came back from a mission trip and the fire, fervor, and zeal for God has consumed her life. You have never seen anything like it! Now you just pray and hope that it stays.
What can you do to help? Maybe you are thinking, "I wonder how long it will last this time. I saw them get fired up like this before, but it died out after a few weeks."

Most parents, not feeling very gifted as "youth ministers," get discouraged thinking they really cannot do anything to help keep their young person's fire burning. This is simply not true.

In a recent survey, 93 percent of the young people interviewed said they believe God loves them; 2 percent said they don't believe it; 2 percent said they don't believe in God; and 3 percent were unsure.

Eighty-six percent believed that Jesus Christ was God or the Son of God; 6 percent believed that Jesus was just another religious leader; 3 percent believed that Jesus never actually lived; and 5 percent were not sure.

Eighty percent of born-again Christians agree with the statement, "the Bible teaches that God helps those who help themselves," 49 percent of Christians agree "the devil, or Satan, is not a living being but is a symbol of evil," and 39 percent of born-again Christians believe "if a person is generally good, or does enough good things for others during their life, they will earn a place in heaven."

No wonder many young people have trouble maintaining their fire - they have been presented with an unclear picture of true Christianity!

Listen to What Some Teens Have Said:
"I find it difficult to stay on fire for the Lord. I go to a pretty big church, but the youth group doesn't do anything."

"It is hard to stay on fire when my parents say one thing, then do another. Their actions don't follow their words."

"Many Christians I know are self-righteous and they are always right. I am losing interest in Christianity because most Christians I've met show more hatred than love."

"I need more encouragement, discipline, and accountability from my parents - particularly from my dad."

"I always feel like I'm doing something wrong in my walk with God. I wish my parents would encourage
me more."

"I'm on a roller coaster ride with God. I can't keep focused. I have tried to, but when nothing happened, I kinda gave up for a while."

"I wish my parents would encourage me instead of nagging me. I wish they wouldn't try to make me worship their way."

What Can You Do?
Embrace your teen's excitement. Many parents patronize their young person. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. I remember when I was that fired up." They act as if their teen is excited over a new club or a new activity. They think it's simply another passing teenage fad.

Instead of patronizing your young person and playing down their newfound passion and love for Christ, embrace them and their fire.

Ask some questions about what God did in their life. What specific things can you pray for? What are they going to do differently to make sure their fire does not die? What can you as a parent do to help them maintain their fire?

They may have some good suggestions for you. Ask them what decisions they made during the camp or conference that they want to be held accountable to. Ask them what makes it different this time compared to any other time before.

Don't sound like the CIA when you are asking these things, but come across as a loving, concerned parent/friend who wants to be involved in your teen's life, embracing them, and genuinely believing God has changed their life. Do not look at them all glossy-eyed and respond with a simple, "Oh, that's great, son."

Really tune in to what was great about it and how their life has changed. This is the first step towards keeping it a lasting fervor for the Lord.

In the process of establishing this type of dialogue, let there be some mutual accountability. Ask your teen to hold you accountable to having quiet times or to dealing with certain areas of your life; not so they can throw it in your face later, but so you can show a little trust and respect.

Then ask them, "What can I pray for you about? What are some areas you are being challenged in that you want God to help you get through?"

When most people who get the fire of God in their life start losing it, they don't want anyone to know, so they cover up the darkness. But when the light comes in, it reveals the darkness for what it is.

If you show the darkness for what it is before it becomes a problem, the darkness has no opportunity to become a stronghold. Being accountable to one another will take the friendship-intimacy factor to a whole new level in your relationship with your young person.

They need to feel there is someone helping and guiding them. You cannot just depend on your pastor and youth pastor. Be the spiritual leader of your home! Help your young person see that they have the fire for a reason. God wants to do something in them and through them.

Source: Rescue Manual for Parents by Ron Luce
Excerpt permission granted by Albury Publishing

Author Biography

Ron Luce
Web site: Ron Luce
 
Ron Luce was the co-founder's and president of Teen Mania Ministries from 1986-2015. Ron and his wife Katie dreamed to raise up young people who would change the world.
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