By Ryan Weber
Have you ever been in a church service or heard a pastor/missionary speak to a crowd when he/she says things like this: “Then God spoke to me,” “I heard God tell me,” “God laid it on my heart,” etc.?
And all you’re thinking is, “This dude’s crazy, they’re hearing voices from the sky and making life changing decisions because of this inaudible voice. Psycho.”
As adults, we struggle to hear the voice of God on a consistent basis. How in the world are we supposed to train and equip our students to hear something inaudible and be moved by something that is so seemingly difficult to grasp?
In mid-August, we took our students on our yearly summer camp, Core Adventures. There were so many life-changing commitments made, tears shed, and challenges created. On the last day of the camp, the leaders shared a bit of their individual testimonies, the reason for their own passion for Christ and ministry, and lastly their heart for the students attending the camp. We all spoke into the great potential that God has placed in each student’s life and spoke with a desire to see them live out their faith in Jesus.
We then gave them space to hear from God. We told them to go off by themselves for 30 minutes with nothing but a pen, their journal, and their Bible. We asked them to consider what it was they thought God wanted them to do as they left Core Adventures. It was a call to action.
There were no tears during the leader’s testimony. There were no tears during our urgent plea to see them see their God-given potential come to life. Believe it or not, the tears came when the students allowed God to speak to them when they were silent and still before Him.
And here’s the crazier part. We didn’t tell them how to do it.
It just happened.
When God is allowed an avenue and a willing spirit to speak into someone’s life, He always capitalizes on that opportunity.
When the students returned from their 30 minutes with God, there were 3 of them that committed their lives to Jesus. I spoke with one student who felt called and directed to start taking steps to be a pastor (he’s 13 years old), I spoke with another teen who wanted to get over the lust issues he was dealing with, and another about some terrible situations in her past that effected her self-esteem and ability to move forward in God’s love.
Listen, it’s not that hard to get someone to hear from God. God doesn’t have to work hard to speak to His children. We just do a terrible job putting ourselves into a position to hear from Him.
One of the benefits of Core Adventures is that we took away every student’s cell phone as soon as soon as they stepped foot on the campground. There were absolutely zero distractions for them during the entire week. There was no Instagram, no Snapchat, no Kik, no Pokemon Go, nothing. In a world that is next to impossible to find stillness, they found it. And we had some teens say they didn’t want their phones back at the end of camp (they took them back anyway).
Helping your teenager learn to hear from God is as simple as allowing him or her the opportunity and the margin in their busy lives to check out for a little bit. Let them waste time with God. The time that we all waste with God is the most productive time of our day. So give them that space. Let them see you in that space. Talk to them about what happens in that space.
When anyone is alone with God with nothing but themselves, a pen, a journal and a Bible, dangerously wonderful things are about to happen. There is nothing that the devil is frightened of more than a Christian with an open Bible and a willing spirit to do whatever God wants them to do.
Hearing God speak audibly comes through His Word, and your receptive spirit. Your teens are crying out and desperate for something to be a part of that is bigger than themselves and God wants desperately to give that to them. Give them the space and margin they need to find what’s truly important in their lives by making the Bible, prayer, and intentional thought an overwhelming priority in your lives.