My teenager is asking questions about her faith, and I’m not sure I have the answers. What should I do?
It’s great that your teen is asking you faith questions! Many teens who walk away from the church don’t share their concerns. That doesn’t make the answers easier, but it’s good she’s still in conversation with you and with God. Faith questions are and should be asked as teens start to make faith their own.
Many faith questions do not have easy answers, but when teens ask difficult questions, they don’t always want answers—and certainly not easy ones. While their questions are sincere, teenagers also want to know that their questions are valid and that their faith still makes sense. Adults can sometimes paint a picture of the Christian life as happy and free from worry. But the Christian life is not often like that. As kids grow, they try to figure out what it looks like when Christians face real-life issues straight on.
So, begin by listening. Restating the question can sometimes help get to the real issue. Share the questions you wrestle with, and talk about how you think about these things when you don’t have answers. Give your honest thoughts. Reflect on what Bible passages the question makes you think about. Clearly affirm that God accepts our questions and that you do, too.
Don’t forget you’re not in this alone. Ask for help from others. There is a lot of wisdom sitting in your church’s pews. There are people who have dealt with great disappointment and loss and found God there walking with them through it. There are people who have real-life experiences and people who have studied the Bible. There are people who have lived life longer who can add perspective to these conversations, and there are people who will pray for you and for your teen.
About the Authors
Laura Keeley is a regional catalyzer for Faith Formation Ministries in the CRCNA and director of childrens ministries at 14th St. CRC in Holland, Mich.
Robert J. Keeley is Professor of Education Emeritus at Calvin University and a music leader at 14th St CRC in Holland, MI.