Teaching from a position of exploration

Tonight starts our youth ministry [in a formal sense] at Mid-city. There are a lot of things our team is excited about. I wanted to share one that has captivated me.

Traditionally, the teaching in youth ministry is from an authoritative perspective. Whether as a stated or implied goal we teach God’s Word with an assumption that it is true, you can trust it, and that I am teaching it the way you should believe it.

While I certainly value those assumptions, our team felt like that wasn’t going to help us express the value, “This is a safe place to explore Jesus.“It just isn’t safe if I give you all the answers and say, “OK, go believe that! You can trust me!

My role is to develop the content. I’ve been charged developing a style of teaching the Bible from an exploration perspective instead of an authoritative perspective.

For example, tonight we’re teaching about doubt. Yes, our very first lesson talks about why you should doubt what people say about God! We’re stating right up front, it’s perfectly OK to doubt. It might even be a virtue. Your leaders have doubts about the claims of Christ. We will tell them it’s a good thing to not believe everything we say at face value. We want them to explore Jesus on their own and show by our actions the youth ministry is a safe place to ask questions– hard questions– and those questions will be accepted with an open heart as we explore a relationship with Jesus together.

Here’s my discussion questions that go with the talk:
– Where is Jesus on doubt?
– Do you think doubt is good or bad?
– What does doubt have to do with honesty?
– What are some things/circumstances that cause people to doubt God?
– What are some things about Jesus you need to be true? (Like stuff about Jesus you are jacked up without.)

Our hope is that positioning our ministry from a place of safe exploration that students will learn that each of us is on a journey with God. (Romeo people will remember that I call these people journeyists instead of the Christian term, soujourners.) No journey is better or more holy than the other. We think (hope, PRAY!) that the faith we help develop in our students will stand the test of time.

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in Ahwahnee, California.


  1. This sounds like an awesome idea. Kids getting a chance to think for themselves and come to their own conclusions. Crazy? Maybe brilliant.

  2. Got together with Chris this morning and planned out the rides:)

    We then prayer walked!

    Praying with you!

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