By guest author
Life Training Christian Counseling
Licensed Christian Counselor
Specialist in Counseling for Teens
As a Christian Counselor for teens, I get the joy of meeting and walking alongside many teens each week. Each individual comes with their unique background and struggles that require gentleness and patience to get to know. While a lot of what I do involves teaching, I also learn a lot from my interactions with these adolescents. Today we are going to look at what we can learn from these teens about connection and communication in the church.
“Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”James 5:16 NIV
One thing that I have learned from teens is the importance of authenticity. Many of the individuals that teens arebombarded with claim to speak the truth, most of them contradicting each other. Teens have developed a knack for recognizing an inauthentic individual. In order to have credibility with them, you have to be truthful with them. You can’t claim to know everything or have everything together, because they will close their ears to everything you say. Yet, if you show them you’re imperfect and willing to admit it, they will willingly listen to what you have to say.
Often in the church we have learned to go on autopilot, walking around acting as if everything is “fine.” My pastor, Andrew Fitzgibbon defined the word “fine” as acronym for “Feelings Inside Not Expressed.” James tells us that as the church, we are to share our sins with each other and pray for each other. We miss out on the accountability, grace, and love God designed the church to provide when we refuse to truly open up to one another. Ann Voskamp once said, “Shame dies when stories are told in safe spaces.” We need to create a space in the church where individuals can come and open up without fear of condemnation, which brings us to our second point.
“To answer before listening–that is folly and shame.”Proverbs 18:13 NIV
Often these teens who come into my office feel unseen, unheard, and unimportant. Although I once was a teenager myself, there are many things these adolescents are experiencing today that I never had to live through, such as surviving a pandemic at such a critical age in development. If I have any chance of leading these teens to Christ and walking alongside them through their struggles, I have to be intentional in listening to their emotions and experiences. I have the best chance at gaining understanding when I process what they are sharing instead of making assumptions over their struggles based on my previous experiences.
Important Within The Church
Active listening is also necessary within the Church body. ff an individual does not believe they will not be heard, they are not going to feel safe confiding in someone. In order to actively listen, one must solely focus on processing an individual’s words while they are talking. We only begin thinking about our response once the teen is finished speaking. Active listening helps us to not respond emotionally or defensively. Instead, we are able to be patient and consider our words carefully, taking into consideration everything the individual had to say. Implementing active listening within the church would result in individuals willingly receiving the Gospel and applying God’s Word to the specific areas of their lives because they feel respected by the ones sharing the Gospel. Additionally, conflicts in the church would yield unity instead of dysfunction.
It is important to remember that while not all individuals carry hurts which make them hesitant to trust others, we can never know what others are going through. Paul encourages the church in Colossae this way: “Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:5-6). By practicing authenticity and active listening in our church, we can grow relationships and glorify God through community.
Teens Have More To Offer Than We Sometimes Realize
Kayla Wright joined the counseling team at Life Training Christian Counseling in Louisville, Kentucky in May of this year. The passion of her counseling work is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of Teens and pre-teens.
Kayla is nationally licensed as a Christian Counselor by the National Christian Counselors Association. She possesses an advanced board certification in Child & Adolescent Therapy. Kayla gained extensive experience and credibility in providing counseling to teens and pre-teens during her tenure on the staff of Revive Christian Counseling in Owensboro and Madisonville, Kentucky. She is highly skilled in teenage substance abuse counseling and teenage depression counseling.
Kayla Wright, as well as each of our other counselors, offers convenient sessions at Life Training Christian Counseling in Louisville, Kentucky. She also offers online counseling via Zoom or FaceTime. Please click on this link to learn much more about how our Counseling for teens and pre-teens in Louisville, Kentucky can help the child you love find the highly-effective, Christ-centered help they need. Contact us today at 502-717-5433, or by email at email@example.com