Encouraging Doubt

Question mark

Greetings friends,

Between writing sermons, Veritas talks, attending classes, and getting caught up with all the reading for said classes, I've been working my way EXTREMELY slowly through two books that I see have a pretty sizable connection. You Lost Me by David Kinnaman and Sticky Faith by Kara Powel and Chap Clark. The question ahead of us in both books is, why is it that young people are leaving the church after their high school careers, and what (if anything) can we in the church do to avoid it?

There are lots of answers to those questions to be sure, and I'm only a chapter or two into either book. But the one thing that struck me about these opening chapters is the importance of allowing our teenagers the freedom to doubt, to express their doubts, and to face down the questions that will surely be asked of them when they leave the safety of the Church. All too often, I think we're too afraid to allow our students the time and the space to wrestle with their faith. I think we try to hand them neatly packaged answers, even if the answers we have are for questions that our students aren't asking.

What's to be afraid of? For starters, the kinds of things that our students may be doubting in our youth rooms are the kind of things they will be faced with in their college careers. So why not introduce the questions now, in a safe space, where we can help them learn how to use the tools God's given us to discover in our faith? Jacob wrestled with God and was rewarded for it. Don't you think we and our students will be rewarded for throwing the mats down and letting our kids wrestle with God?

I'd love to hear some thoughts on this from you in the field. How do you encourage doubt in your students? What are the kind of doubts that your students are facing?