Shepherding the Young

November 2010 - Cover Story
by Deena C. Bouknight

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November 2010 - Cover Story

Youth pastors in Columbia face a world-wide challenge: to overcome faith apathy in today’s youth, to help them embrace their faith and not view it as mere wallpaper in their lives.

In the documentary, Soul Searching: A Movie about Teenagers and God, sociologists at the University of Notre Dame reported that many teenagers have embraced a form of moralistic, therapeutic deism that basically goes like this: “It’s important for me to be happy and do good things, and if something goes wrong, then I’ll pray to (a) god.”
Despite such challenges, many still wholeheartedly embrace the life of shepherding today’s youth. Some local youth leaders talk openly about their roles and strategies for addressing the blessings and curses that confront young people.
Before his current role as pastor of Blythewood Presbyterian Church, Rhett Sanders was Northeast Presbyterian’s youth director for 15 years. He says youth leaders must always strive to make Christ a greater part of their own lives. “The number one goal is for these students to see Christ in me,” he says.
Kilbourne Park Baptist youth pastor David Hatcher says that to connect with youth, “You have to be shallow enough that they can learn without drowning, but deep enough that they can grow.”

Why did Christ die for you?

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