by Samuel Thambusamy
Younger kids ask a lot of questions. If you have the time and give them an opportunity they can tire you out with their endless questions. Interestingly, they ask a lot of ‘why’ questions. ‘Generation Next’, ‘Screenagers’ call them what you will but they deserve to be described as Generation WHY. It is important that we answer the questions that kids have about God, the world and about themselves. In a “multiple options” world, it is imperative that we reason with our kids the reasons as to “why-we-believe-what-we-believe”. India is the youngest nation in the world. About 400 million are less than the ages of twentyfive. This statistic is mind-boggling. So youth apologetics is no longer an option. It is a necessity. Moreover, it is the way forward.
Just as these thots were gathering in my mind, God brought an opportunity to speak to a group of children. I was invited to lead the devotions at the St. Andrews Kirk Church,VBS. I decided to engage in youth apologetics. Speaking to children is not an easy thing. The difficulty is not in ‘getting-down’ to the level of the child. In fact, the difficulty lies in ‘growing up’ to the level of the child. My previous involvement with children’s ministry and my seminary training in specialized children’s ministries came in handy. I worked on a thematic outline that would lead the children to raise questions. I spoke on the themes a) Designer ware b) Get connected c) stay Tuned d) Generation WHY and wrapped it up with a Q & A session.
During the Q & A session, children had lots of questions and it took about an hour to answer these questions. Some of the questions that Children raised were
- Why does God take so long to give us what we want?
- Why can’t God be one?
- Why do we have to choose between Good and Evil?
- Why are there dirty words in the Old Testament?
- Why do we have to say Amen at the end of a prayer?
- Is it wrong to have tattoos?
- Is it wrong to be in a serious relationship at 18 or 17?
- How can I see Jesus?
- How do you recognize God’s voice?
There was a marked sincerity in the questions that were raised. Moreover, children were eagerly waiting to hear out the answers. What surprised me was the ready willingness of the kids to reason out the answers. Amidst the giggles and raised eyebrows, children were thinking through. The feedbacks have been very positive. It is time that we take youth apologetics seriously and bring God’s Truth, Beauty and Goodness to bear a positive influence on their lives.
Generation ‘WHY’ – has some very interesting questions ranging from the doctrinal to the practical. From my experience at the Kirk VBS, I have come to understand that kids have pressing questions on matters concerning a) Relationships b) moral frameworks c) Lifestyle d) spirituality e) doctrine. These questions are critical to their understanding of God, themselves and the world around them. Youth apologetics is not an option any longer. It is a necessity. It is important that our kids know why we believe what we believe. We must engage with the questions that our kids are asking and it is our God-given responsibility to nurture them in the faith and to grow in the knowledge of God.
We at wisdomtree have a passion for youth apologetics. The first of the series on youth apologetics “You can be a bush-clearer too” is on the pipe line. Presentations on the theme of The story of the Universe, The mystery of life and An Earth made for life are being produced. We hope to make inroads into schools in Chennai, Ooty, Madurai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Vizag and Pune. Please do pray for the youth apologetic initiatives.