Life as a teenager can be full of uncertainty, transition, peer pressure and more, and parents have trouble traversing those angst-ridden years.
The Tag! Parents and Teenagers Together conference March 1 at First Baptist Church in Garner was meant to help parents and teenagers learn how to build solid relationships with each other.
“We all were teenagers at one time and we all made mistakes,” said Merrie Johnson, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) senior consultant for youth evangelism and discipleship. “As our family grows, we become the parent of a teenager, trying to instill in them our number-one goal, which is to have an everlasting relationship with Jesus Christ and … following after Him.”
The conference, sponsored by the convention, involved teens and parents worshipping the Lord, playing games and sharing personal experiences together.
Following an introductory session, teens participated in gender-specific breakout sessions while Johnson teaches parents how to prepare their sons and daughters for the difficulties of life ahead.
The conference schedule provides opportunities for parents and teenagers to enjoy lunch together and to spend time during the afternoon engaged in activities revolving around building trust, learning to listen to one another and finding ways to do more fun things together.
Teaching from Joshua 1:9, Johnson used this passage to illustrate the fact that teenagers go through a period of transition that is comparable to the Israelites’ transition from being led by Moses to being led by Joshua.
“I want [parents and teens] to make a commitment to do one thing by the end of this session, and that’s to ask themselves, ‘What’s the one thing that they want to change in their family?’” Johnson said. “Our emphasis is to bring the parents and teenagers together, mainly because teenagers just stop talking. We’ve got to be a voice that is as loud as what the world is telling them,” she said. “Somewhere along the way, we think that they don’t want us around anymore, but they still have to have guidelines and to have someone fighting for them in the things that they are going through.”
The purpose of the “Tag! You’re It” theme is to equip Christian students to make their lives count and to stand up for what they believe. Participants are trained in a form of apologetics specifically tailored to the young audience at this conference.
The results from the North Carolina Baptist Youth Ministry Survey in 2011 revealed that out of 4,281 students who completed the 83-question survey, 3,744 failed the biblical literacy portion.
“This was the ‘cream of the crop’ of students from N.C. Baptist churches: involved in youth ministry that were attending youth camp,” Johnson said.
She admitted that she knew the scores would be low, but she never anticipated more than 87 percent failing in what they know about God’s Word. The survey results also revealed that this generation is neither being mentored nor getting involved in discipleship groups.
The Tag! conferences help combat this by training students how to pray, how to share the gospel, how to defend what they believe and how to be leaders.
The “Tag! You’re It” theme was developed upon the conviction that the BSC should assist churches in making disciples among teenagers. Scripture instructs parents to engage in disciple-making with their children and to discover how to grow as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ together.
For more information on upcoming BeDoTell events and future “Tag!” conferences, contact Merrie Johnson at (919) 459-5566 or email [email protected]. Additional information may also be found by visiting www.bedotell.com.