A couple weeks ago I posted about how I need to address the tough issues in youth group that students will face once they graduate. Based on Dan Kimball’s seminar at the NYWC, I decided that I need to start teaching WHY we believe what we do and present other options for them to critically evaluate. It’s okay to teach on prayer, reading the Bible, witnessing to friends, and other such topics, but maybe at this point in their lives there’s something else that’s even more critical than this. Youth group needs to be a safe place where students feel comfortable with challenging our (their?) belief system and taking ownership of it themselves. If Christianity doesn’t hold water, then it’s really not worth believing. Students need to know that not only does Christianity stand up to criticism, it actually provides solid answers that no other religion or philosophy can provide. But obviously, this is a decision they need to make for themselves.
On May 19, 2006, Da Vinci Code will open in theaters around the world. The book’s popularity has already shaped much of what Americans think about Jesus, religion, and the Bible, but taking the form of a movie with actors such as Tom Hanks will take its message to a whole new level. Teenagers everywhere will see this film and walk away asking the critical questions that are so very necessary for evaluating the validity of Christianity. Where did the Bible really come from? Is it trustworthy? Did Jesus really come back to life? Was he really God? Many churches might see this as a threat and will try to stifle the questions, but I’m excited about it and all the ministry opportunities it will create! I hope we take Dan Kimball’s suggestion and provide forums for discussion in our churches where people can talk about these matters and evaluate what in the movie is true and what in the movie is false.
So, in preparation for May 19, 2006, I plan to challenge my students to think through these issues now so that when the movie comes out, they’ve already thought through the issues critically and are prepared to answer the questions their friends will ask them. There are many good resources for this, including Breaking the Da Vinci Code by Darrell Bock, a DTS prof (go DTS!). ;) As I write my youth group lessons and prepare the material for this series, I’ll try to make my work available here online for those who are interested.
Posted on December 2, 2005