Connection & Presence
A consistent theme in the news over the last several months—even years—has been the problem of loneliness, despair, and self-harm. The following articles explore both the problems and proposed solutions. May these resources aid in your understanding of culture and your discipleship process with your children/students.
#1 Exploring the problem and proposed responses/solutions from a secular perspective. (Note: this is not an endorsement of these sources. Rather, they provide insight into secular thinking and reporting for discernment purposes.)
Why is this important? We have the mind of Christ and indwelling of the Spirit, enabling us to sift and discern the wisdom of observations and analysis of those “in the world.” (See 1 Corinthians 2.) With greater understanding, we may then tenderly “proclaim the excellencies” of God through word and action, as a “priesthood” to a hurting world. (See 1 Peter 2:9.)
Conversation starters with your teens/students:
- Read the sources above with your teens/students and discuss:
- What can we affirm from a biblical perspective?
- We can affirm when secular authors are naming the human problem well; sometimes we affirm their solutions—always as seen through scripture.
- What should we challenge through our biblical framework?
- Man without God makes man the highest authority, responsible for finding/making a solution.
- Ask your teens/students: Based on what we know of both man and God, what would we critique in the proposed solutions?
#2 WORLD Opinions writer Jennifer Patterson approaches shades of the problem and her proposed solutions from a biblical worldview in Building a culture of hope.
Why is this important? A myriad of verses speak to the simple solution Patterson mentions: hospitality. Consider: Leviticus 19:34, Matthew 25:34-46, Luke 14:12-14, Hebrews 13:2.
Learning with your teens/students:
- Consider doing a word study with your teens/students on “hospitality.”
- After your study, ask: How would you summarize the Bible’s teaching on hospitality—how does it shape our thoughts and attitudes?
- How should our theology inform our actions?
#3 This excellent encouragement comes from Santiago Frank, a student at Liberty University who writes at TGC: Young Adult, Embrace the Art of Neighboring.
Why is this important? The gospel does not and must not stop with us. It equips us to go. In Frank’s words: “The gospel makes us a people who have the courage and compassion to welcome our neighbors.” Even your youngest children can begin to learn these concepts and apply them, under your safe guidance.
Conversation starters with your children/students:
- What are ways we can be more intentionally connectional, hospitable, and neighborly?
- Pray together over the people in your neighborhood and community. Ask the Lord to open your eyes to the opportunities to love mightily even in small ways.