By Matthew Schultz
“I just feel so overwhelmed!” Talk to any of the youth in your ministry or in your life over the last couple of years, you’ve probably heard this phrase at least a couple of times.
Young people today have so much to deal with. Sure, they have the normal things that we all had growing up: school, friends, dating, acne . . . you know the list. But they also are dealing with things that those of us who are a bit older never had to:
- Navigating the constant pressure of social media
- Having much of their lives scheduled every minute of every day between school, extracurricular activities, work, volunteering
- Dealing with Covid and all the disruptions, disappointments, and unknowns that came with it over the last two years
- Sorting out the ever-increasing incidents of violence in our nation and around the world
As a parent, I can say that I’ve seen my children (one will be a senior in college and one will be a freshman in college this year) struggle to find the balance.
So what can we do? How do we help our young people regain that center that helps them cope with all that the world can throw at them?
We take them back to the basics. “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his” (Hebrews 4:9–10 ESV).
Over the past year, the youth ministry at our church instituted a Wednesday night “hang out” ministry. Sure, there was time for prayer and a short devotion. The kids came together to eat a meal every week. Over and over, I heard the same thing from all the youth. They just needed a space to just “be” for a little bit. No pressure. No agenda. Just a time around people who care for them and support them.
We know it’s good to gather once again after the last few years of being solely or mostly online! Provide youth in your ministry the time and opportunity to connect with each other and with their God, who loves them and will help them deal with the stressors and the “I’m overwhelmed!” feeling that comes with what the world dishes out.
You know the saying: Less is more. When it comes to helping our young people today follow Christ more closely, it might be the most important lesson we have to teach.
Editor’s note: CTA’s newest book for youth, Just Breathe: Devotions for Overwhelmed Youth, is a great resource for you and the youth in your ministry. It’s available in a softcover version as well as an e-book version on the Kindle platform. Just Breathe: Devotions for Overwhelmed Youth is filled with messages, Scripture passages, and prayer starters that give them the tools to combat the pressures and to sit down with Jesus and rest for a while. In addition, check out the Just Breathe companion Digital Discussion Guide for use in individual or group setting.
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