Letter from a Mom

Brad M. Griffin

We recently received this email from a mom of two teenagers, and with her permission decided to open-source the response from our blog readers.  Here’s her letter:

I am a mom of two teenagers, and am incredibly blessed to find them so willing to attend church, Sunday school as well as maintaining open communication about their walk with God.  We have hit many rocky places and no doubt will face more, but they are actively exploring their faith. 

In recent months, I have been discussing with my children about how youth group is going, and I am rather discouraged by what I hear from them.  Both of them state, in one way or another, increasing frustration with a lack of intellectual interaction in their respective groups.  They have good rapport with their leaders who all are very well-trained, yet they are reaching for conversation on a deeper level.  In the words of one of my kids:  "I get tired of hearing how we need to 'love on people'.  I need to know deeper things." 

Both have come to feel that Sunday school is a continual rehash of "feel good" faith and this concerns me deeply. My kids are starting to feel marginalized and "talked down to" for wanting more critical thinking in discussions about faith.  I don't want to make this a critique on our student ministries but I am hoping you may have suggestions of how to address this issue. What do we do when the constructs in place are not moving young people forward?

At a loss,


Youth pastors and parents of teenagers, how do you respond? What insights do you have for this mom and her kids?

Published Oct 27, 2011
Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Associate Director of the Fuller Youth Institute, where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, blogger, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is also the coauthor of Sticky Faith ​and Deep Justice Journeys. A native Kentucky youth pastor, Brad now lives in Southern California with his wife Missy and their three children.

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