Law and Gospel in Youth Ministry with David Zahl (Rooted 2020 Conference Workshop)

Over the next several weeks, we will share workshop and plenary content from our Rooted 2020 Microconferences. This excellent workshop from longtime college minister, Mockingbird founder, and Seculosity author David Zahl will encourage you as you seek to focus your youth ministry on the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

There is perhaps no time in life more marked by the interplay between rebellion and conformity than adolescence. Some of us spend those years vying for the approval of parents, teachers, college admissions offices, while others run in the opposite direction, looking to upset whatever apple cart we find burdensome. Ministers of the gospel can find themselves in an awkward position, eager to help their students avoid legalistic burnout but anxious not to dampen their zeal or diminish the very real consequences of sin. In this session we’ll be exploring how the distinction between the Law and the Gospel – one of the primary themes of the Protestant Reformation – might serve as a resource as we negotiate this crucible of teenage life and faith.

Listen to this workshop via the Rooted Youth Ministry Podcast:

More from David Zahl:

Podcast: David Zahl on Where Teenagers Find Their Enoughness, If Not at Church

Book: Law and Gospel: A Theology for Sinners


Where do you see performancism playing out in your context and among your students? What are the arenas they value most highly and have those changed in the last few years?

Dave says at one point that “the law is at work on us even when we aren’t actually hearing specific divine commands.” Can you think of an example, either in your own life or your ministry, when condemnation was heard inadvertently? What was the response?

In Romans, Paul writes that “the law increases the trespass.” How, if at all, do you see this verse play out on social media, or teenage life more generally?

Do you think your students would benefit from understanding this distinction and if so, how? Are there any caveats you think would be helpful in explaining it to those in your care?


Advancing Grace-Driven Youth Ministry

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