When we think of “being amazed” it is in the state of being “in awe, surprise, astonishment, shock and even disbelief” according to the dictionary. Time and time again, we are told by the scripture about God’s unconditional, amazing, and yes, extravagant grace and love for us. However, many young people are in the place of disbelief more than acceptance. Why? What can we do to guide them in their faith to live into the AWE of God’s amazing love?
First and foremost, youth mostly approach God’s love as something they have to “earn”, or that they don’t deserve because of what they’ve “done” (or not done right). Everything, in their view, is either punished or rewarded, and left on their own (without external influences of admiration and validation), they struggle to see how God could possibly love them. They also often question why “bad things happen to good people”, and how God and His grace and love can be a part of that. (That topic is a whole other blog about human choice, nature, and God’s presence in all things). You need to find a way to concentrate on God’s love, and how amazed they should be as a Disciple of Jesus Christ and a person of faith.
Here are a few activities I found that I think will help them “feel the love”.
- www.ministrytoyouth.com Shares a downloadable lesson called Youth Group’s Lesson on God’s Love. It uses current music and a version of “Honey I Love You, but I Just Can’t Smile” to help young people see the impact of words. Then it moves to scripture and helps them apply it to their own lives.
- Volunteering is also a way for young people to live in a place of unconditional grace and giving around something they are passion about. Find an experience together, or have your youth seek opportunities individually or in pairs and then process through the lens of unconditional love. Did they ask for anything in return? Did they decide if the people on the receiving end were worthy, why or why not? Then apply it to God’s love in their life using Hebrews 13:8 Yesterday He loved you. Today He loves you. Tomorrow He will love you. Nothing will change.
- Have them record and explain the places where they feel and see God. Talk about this as a group and then have them identify places they don’t think God and His love are present. Talk about (maybe in partners) why they feel this way and then discuss in a group. Have them look for “God moments” during the week and start a thread on social media—perhaps have them include a photo.
- Finally, lead them into a bible study around verses about God’s love. I suggest that this is short and sweet, maybe through a group texting app, FB post, or other social media group where they can respond. A verse, a question, a response will do; it cannot seem like homework. Collect them, post the responses, then use them as a springboard for further conversation.
God’s unconditional love is something that should leave us “AMAZED”. Intentional, continual reminders of God’s grace and love is how we guide young people to that state of acceptance and awe of God’s love for us.