Over the years I’ve heard many youth leaders say things like, “Well, I don’t want my teenagers to make emotional decisions for Christ” and my response is “Why not?” As long as they are genuine decisions then why wouldn’t emotions play a significant role in their spiritual formation?
The best decisionsI’ve ever made have been emotional ones. I made an emotional decision to become a Christian, to go into the ministry and to marry my wife. Sure, these decisions weren’t purely emotional. I thought long and hard about them too. But emotions played a big part as well.
Too many Christians think that Spock rules the day when it comes to decision making in the spiritual realm. We are supposed to weigh the evidence for the Christian faith and them make the logical choice based on the facts. But we need to mix in a little Kirk with our Spock when it comes to motivating teenagers to make decisions for Christ.
I’ll never forget when a preacher gave me the gift of an eight volume set of systematic theology books. Although I was only fifteen years old at the time I read them…and wept. I was blown away by the amazing theological truths I uncovered in its pages. These books helped me to build a Biblical framework for truths like the character of God, salvation, the church, the future and the Bible. I cried as I read them because these truths brought order to my confused world.
Being raised without a father, I found a father in God. Being raised in a neighborhood with plenty of violence, I found peace in Jesus. Being raised in poverty, I found riches in salvation. The tears that flowed down my cheeks were triggered by my mind and heart wrestling through these emotionally engaging theological realities.
Charles Spurgeon said that the key to great preaching is great subjects. We need to unleash these great subjects in our youth groups to help teenagers make very real and very emotional decisions for Christ.