Here’s the thing. I love girls ministry. When I think about all that encompasses discipling girls and leading them to Christ, there are so many things that come to mind. I have spent many years sitting across the table from girls at coffee shops and leading small groups for camps and hosting disciple now weekends. I’ve walked girls through breakups, I’ve experienced student revivals, I’ve seen girls reconcile with their parents, and I’ve watched small group leaders connect with a new girl for the first time.
I could go on and on about all the things that make me love working with teen girls. I know not everyone feels that way, because at times teen girls can be intimidating and uninterested and just plain confusing. But if the Lord has graciously entrusted you with teen girls, I truly believe He doesn’t want you to waste that gift. And it is such a beautiful gift.
I want to offer you three questions that are worth asking yourself. Because these questions reveal what really matters to this generation of teen girls, and I think it will forever change the way you disciple, parent, or minister to them.
1. Do I love and value her for who she is and not what she does or doesn’t do?
If I have learned anything with ministering to teen girls, it is that they want you to love them just as they are. That doesn’t mean you condone any poor behavior or let them do whatever they want. But do you love them despite their bad choices or their poor attendance or their lack of a desire to serve in kids ministry?
Teen girls will make bad decisions, they will fail, and they will disappoint you (a lot!). But what an opportunity we have to show the love of Jesus to them! It’s that kind of love found in Romans 5:8, “But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” It’s the kind of love Jesus shows Martha in Luke 10:38-42. While she was doing the wrong thing (being busy and not worrying about the things of Jesus), Jesus showed her loving compassion as He called her out of her sin and into something better—“Martha, Martha.”
The girls in your world want to be loved and valued—not because they make straight As or have a calling to missions one day. They are just looking for you to prove to them through action that Jesus loves them the way you say He does.
2. Am I teaching her to know God for herself?
This seems like a simple question to answer. But when is the last time you showed a teen girl how to know God for herself? Or how to study the Bible for herself? Or how to pray on her own? Because we can preach sermons, send them to church camp, and host Bible studies until they graduate high school, but if they don’t know how to follow God personally (outside of church and camp and small groups), they won’t know why they should keep following Him.
The how is often the hardest part, because it takes a lot of work and patience. But it is so worth it. As you minister to or parent the teen girls in your life, remember that the Holy Spirit has equipped you with everything you need to point her to Him. Ask the Holy Spirit for the wisdom on what this may look like in your context.
(Side note: I’m a big fan of Caroline Saunders and her new study for this reason. Better Than Life: How to Study the Bible and Like It not only teaches girls that God’s Word is accessible to them, but it teaches them that they can actually find delight in their personal discovery of God through Scripture. It’s absolutely brilliant.)
3. Have I created a safe space for her to ask difficult questions?
I think we can all agree that 2020 has been wild. And strange and hard and confusing and exhausting. It has personally challenged my faith and beliefs and values in a whole new way. Can I just tell you that teen girls are asking a lot of questions? Here are just a few that I have personally heard:
- Why did God allow people to die through a pandemic?
- How can I know God is still good?
- Can I be a Christian and a democrat?
- Does Jesus actually value women?
- How can people call themselves “Christians” and not love people of a different color than them?
The worst part about these questions is not that they’re asking questions. It’s that they feel ashamed to ask those kinds of questions to their parents or the leaders in their life. So instead, they’re going to TikTok and their friends to find “answers.” This is a huge part of raising and leading girls that isn’t often talked about. Do your girls know they can come to you with anything? Have they found a safe place to ask hard things without judgment? They’re not asking for perfect answers. They’re just looking for someone who can search for an answer with them.
I can’t answer those three questions for you, but I can tell you that how you answer those questions is what really matters to teen girls. My prayer is the Lord continues to provide you with the wisdom and grace to love and lead the teen girls in your life.