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Sticking With It (Part 1)

11.06.17 | 5:1 | by Lindsey Atkins

Sticking With It (Part 1)

    In a five part series, Lindsey Atkins shares her story of how intergenerational community has impacted her life and the lives of those around her.

    Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5

    Do you remember middle school and high school? For most people, it's an incredibly confusing, challenging time. Much of what used to be fun as a child suddenly isn't as fun anymore. As you're trying to figure out what is fun to you, you're being given more responsibilities than ever before. You're more self-aware and sensitive to social structures, which seem to have no rule book, yet everyone around you appears to be trying to write their own, making it up as they go, while simultaneously trying to figure out everyone else's. You're rapidly turning into an adult in multiple ways, and you're soon to be thrust into full-blown adulthood no matter how prepared or ready you feel. Many of the choices you make as a teenager set you on a trajectory that significantly affects the rest of your life. There's a lot of pressure during this emotionally fragile stage of life. It's a very formative time, yet you feel... stuck. Many adults place high expectations on you to be responsible and make good choices for your present and your future, yet at the same time still treat you like a child and don't seem interested in what you think. While adults want you to take life more seriously, many don't seem to take you seriously. As you learn to make your own decisions, you also run the risk of falling flat on your face, so guidance from those with more experience is crucial. However, many teenagers end up not only lacking such support but also feeling disrespected or even abandoned.

    Close to 50% of students who are involved in church through high school graduation do not end up continuing to pursue the Lord in college. Many just feel stuck, like their faith has stalled out and won't move forward, so they wander on, not sticking with it. Research shows that those who do stick with their faith tend to have one critical thing in common: the influence of believing adults who show an interest in them (http://stickyfaith.org/articles/the-church-sticking-together). This evidence shows the importance of generations building into each other. God has been telling us this through His Word for centuries (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Psalm 78, Psalm 145:4, Proverbs 22:6, Matthew 10:42, Matthew 11:25-26, Matthew 18:2-10, Matthew 19:13-14, Matthew 21:16, Mark 10:13-16, Luke 9:46-48, Ephesians 6:1-4, Colossians 3:20, Titus 2:1-8, 1 Timothy 4:12, to name just a few). The more you think about how the interest adults show in teenagers' lives potentially strengthens the stability of their faith, the more it just makes sense. This is affirmed by my own experience as a youth and later a youth leader, as well as in the lives of young people I've had the pleasure of knowing. The Church must stick with younger generations.

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