Gospel Hope for Doubting Teenagers

doubting thomas

We hope you will join us for Rooted 2022 in Kansas City October 6-8. We offer a variety of workshops for youth pastors and parents, and this year, we are excited to offer “Deconstruction, Destruction, and Doubt” and “Discipling Doubters” taught by Barnabas Piper, Assistant Pastor at Immanuel Church in Nashville, TN and the author of four books, including Help My Unbelief: Why Doubt is not the Enemy of Faith (2015). 

As a preview of Piper’s workshops, we’ve composed a list of previous articles and podcasts in which he discussed doubt, deconstruction, and faith. We’ve also included some bonus resources from the Rooted Blog for you to enjoy. 

We hope these bless you in your ministry to doubting souls, and we look forward to seeing you in Kansas City! 

  1. Deconstruction, Destruction, and Faith– Barnapaspiper.com 

Genuine faith in Christ is not a system or structure, so it cannot be deconstructed. It is a gift from God through the work of Jesus Christ, secured by the Holy Spirit[…]A life transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit has been fully, miraculously recreated. It is not constructed but breathed into existence by God. It cannot be pulled apart piece by piece for improvement or diagnosis.

  1. Help My Unbelief: Why Doubt is Not the Enemy of Faith – Barnabas Piper.com

 He shows how embracing doubts and questions can help us to get to know God, and encourages us to risk trusting God in our everyday lives, even when we don’t understand everything about him.

  1. Normal Doubt and the Nature of God- Barnabaspiper.com 

To doubt is human. It is natural. It is a direct result of being who we are – finite creatures seeking to understand things beyond ourselves. It is inevitable that we will doubt. […] It is how we respond when we doubt that determines whether it is a sin. You can doubt in a way that draws you closer to faith in God or you can doubt in a way that undermines and dissolves your faith. 

  1. 4 Differences Between Believing and Unbelieving Doubt– Barnabaspiper.com

Christ sets the example for the believing doubter. In our moments of greatest uncertainty and in the face of our biggest fears and questions we are to respond as He did in the garden of Gethsemane: make our plea to God for help and then submit to His perfect will.

  1. How Jesus Helps Doubters– Barnabas Piper .com

Often, though, showing He is worthy of our faith does not look like fulfilling our specific desires. Often Jesus knows a better way to meet our needs even if it doesn’t appear better to us.

  1. Podcast: The Happy Rant: Let’s Talk Deconstruction 

In this episode of their podcast, “The Happy Rant,” Barnabas Piper, Ted Kluck, and Ronnie Martin discuss the nature of deconstruction, potential positives of deconstruction, and what we tend to get wrong about it. 

  1. Podcast: The Glass House: Growing up in a Glass House with Barnabas Piper

Listen as Barnabas is interviewed on “The Glass House Podcast” in which he discusses what it was like to grow up as a pastor’s kid and how he navigates being both a pastor and parent today. 

Rooted resources on doubt: 

  1. Have Mercy on Doubting Teenagers– Chris Li 

Let us not forget that faith and doubt can co-exist. Doubt does not erase our faith. What if doubt is actually the path upon which a student will grow and believe, and a way for us to sharpen and strengthen our own faith?

  1. Ministering to Students Who Wrestle with Doubt– Shelby Abbott

The questions young people may have about God imply interest in Him, so why not pursue Him alongside them as they ask and doubt? God can certainly handle it. And there just might be buried treasure on the other side of the doubt.

  1. Doubting Thomas and Jesus’ Gracious Invitation- Arek O’Connell

invite your students to lean into their doubt, directing it purposefully toward Jesus. Our God who has defeated death can surely handle our inability to see him clearly in moments of struggle. […] Jesus’ invitation is not to come to him with answers, but to come while we are tired and weary so that we might learn from him.

  1. Rooted Youth Ministry Podcast: For the Teenager (or the Youth Minister) who Doubts: An Interview with Shelby Abbott 

In this episode of the Rooted Youth Ministry Podcast, host Davis Lacey shares an interview with author Shelby Abbott (www.shelbyabbott.com) regarding the release of his new book, Doubtless: Because Faith is Hard. Youth ministers will be encouraged as Shelby shares ways in which God redeems and uses doubts to draw His people closer to himself. Furthermore, Shelby provides a wealth of insight that will equip youth workers to help teenagers “Feed their faith – not their doubts.” 

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