Reaching Today's Teens - Theological Tools

What is important to reach the teens of today? How does one equip them for living faithfully in this world? What are the roles and responsibilities of those who are responsible for the training and discipleship of them, parents, youth pastors, youth volunteers? What are important “theological tools” for this endeavor?

Cameron Cole, director of youth ministries at Cathedral Church of the Advent, Birmingham, Alabama, and chairman of Rooted: Advancing Grace-Driven Youth Ministry, has listed “5 Tools Needed to Reach Today's Teens.” 

I include his points along with the recommended resource.

1. Knowledge about the canonization of Scripture.
Recommended Reading: F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture

2. Developed theology of sexuality, particularly homosexuality.
Recommended Reading: Wesley Hill, Washed And Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality

3. Ability to teach the Bible in the greater context of redemptive history.
Recommended Reading: Vaughan Roberts, God's Big Picture

4. Theological, not only moral, understanding of sin.
Recommended Reading: Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods

5. Understand adoption as an element of salvation.
Recommended Reading: Trevor Burke, Adopted into God's Family (in the NSBT series edited by D. A. Carson)

Though I may nuance these issues a bit differently, and though there are things I would add to the list, and though I would likely recommend a few other/additional resources, I appreciate that Cole is intentional about equipping young people with biblical truth. This, then, becomes foundational for a life lived to the glory of God, for the good of the church, and for true human flourishing.

  1. What “theological tools” do you use?
  2. How do you equip those serving as authority figures according to God’s ordained roles in the lives of teenagers?

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