The teenage years can prove themselves to be a challenging season, for both the parents and teens alike. How can a deeper understanding of the gospel transform and redeem that potentially challenging period?
Jacquelle Crowe, teen author of ‘This Changes Everything,’ and her father, Sean Crowe, set out to explore the answers to that very question at a seminar for parents and teens held at Living Hope Community Church on August 4.
“We wanted to host this because we believe it’s so important for parents to disciple their children,” said Chris Li, youth pastor at Living Hope.
The session, which lasted a little more than two hours, was divided into three parts, with each part including brief words from Sean and Jacquelle Crowe regarding three topics, and then allowing the parents and teens in the audience to share their thoughts with each other after each of the talks, following discussion questions provided.
“Most people feel completely inadequate to care for their children,” said Sean Crowe as he opened up the first portion, which focused on how the grace of God affects the lives and perspectives of parents and teens. “Raising kids who love the Lord is a difficult task.”
“But just as we are saved by grace, we are also sanctified by grace,” he added. “Any success we have in parenting is due to the grace of God – so let’s look to God.”
Jacquelle Crowe mentioned the challenges that teens face in today’s world, and said they “need grace” in two domains: living in the culture, and within the home.
In today’s world, living as a Christian may require teens to stand apart from their peers, and perhaps be seen as “weird,” she said. But she encouraged them to stand out as a Christian by speaking “words of life and truth,” rather than gossiping; thinking of others first; living in purity; pursuing faithfulness; and living in a way that honors God.
She focused on how teens can honor their parents during the second portion of the session, and encouraged teens to obey their parents joyfully, and serve them willingly.
“Obedience is hard, but parenting is hard too,” said Jacquelle Crowe.
“Jesus was a teenager just like us, and he also had to obey his earthly parents,” she added. “He did that because that’s how teens are supposed to be.”
Teens should serve their parents, she continued, because “Christians’ lives should be marked with service.”
“They [parents] are fellow brothers and sisters, and it is our responsibility to love and serve them,” said Crowe.
Praying for parents, and seeking ways to make their lives better, are among the ways that teens could serve their parents, she suggested.
“Small, quiet faithfulness will be used to prepare you for bigger obedience in the future.”
Meanwhile, parents have work to do as well, Sean Crowe noted during the second portion: teaching the teens what the Bible says; training them how to live; and praying for them.
When it comes to teaching the Bible or discipleship, parents may be tempted to think, “That’s the church’s job.” However, Crowe said, “the primary responsibility is on the parents.”
“Your kids need to see you, how you live, you need to be their example,” said Crowe. “But you also need to see them – you’re going to have to know your kids and what they’re interested in.”
The tasks seem many and difficult for both parents and teens – but Sean and Jacquelle Crowe reminded them of the hope and help they can find in God: primarily, in God’s Word and in God’s body, the church. The wisdom and guidance that parents and teens need can be found in the Bible, and in the community of the church, they said.
“I want to encourage you – you can begin again,” said Sean Crowe. “Now is the time to begin again.”