Welcome to Journey Teens!

Journey Teens is our youth group for 7th-12th graders. We meet on Sunday nights, 6-8 pm, throughout the school year for Refuel, where we play games or have some kind of activity, then have a short lesson, and break into small groups based on grade and gender. Middle schoolers (7th & 8th graders) are invited to our Middle School class on Sunday mornings during the first service as well.

Parents of Teens: I know this past almost two years have been crazy and there's still a lot of stress and uncertainty for many of you. I'd love to talk with any of you if you have questions or need support as a parent as we move into some sense of normalcy. I'm usually hanging out outside or in the lobby before each service, so please feel free to find me Sunday mornings or email me if that works better for you. Even as things continue to be crazy, may we never forget we serve a big God who loves each and every one of us (Psalm 147:3-5).

-Ryan McGhee, Teen Director, teens@thejourneynova.org

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A note from Ryan...

As my daughter was fighting me through our bedtime routine, the sermon from two Sundays ago came to mind. Chad shared about Blind Bartimaeus from Luke 18:35-43 and pointed out that through the crowd, Jesus was able to hear this man, call him forward, and meet his need. It was a good reminder that even in a busy world, we all have a desire to be heard. With that in mind, how well do you “hear” the needs of your teen?

This smelly, screaming blind beggar was told to quiet down. This response from the crowd makes sense; after all, the Son of God was passing by, and this man was causing a commotion. Jesus Christ, however, reacts differently. Jesus gives this man his undivided attention because he knows the man has unmet needs. The crowd completely misses this and is simply annoyed.

How often does a similar situation play out in our homes? I was frustrated my 4-year-old wouldn’t brush her teeth or put on her pajamas. My daughter knows how to do those things and understands the bedtime expectation, so what gives? I had come home late, and we didn’t eat dinner together so her only interaction with me was the few minutes we had together before bed. My daughter was being difficult because she missed me and wanted more time together, but isn’t emotionally intelligent enough to say, “Hey Dad, you got home a little late and I would like to spend some time with you before we go to sleep.” In that moment, she needed me to respond like Jesus and gently call her to myself so I could meet her relational need.

Your teen may act out in more sophisticated ways, but the need is often the same. They’re asking, “Do you love me? Am I worth something to you?” I want to encourage you to be like Jesus in those moments. He didn’t criticize the beggar for his disruptive behavior, but he didn’t or ignore him either. He called him forward and met his need.

The next time your son or daughter does something disruptive, I would encourage you to engage, but before you do stop and ask, “What need are they attempting to express?” If you don’t know, ask them. Try using a “What” question instead of a “Why” question. A “Why” question can put your son or daughter on the defensive, but a “What” question comes across as less combative. Instead of saying, “Why are you so angry?” you could turn that into a “What” question by asking, “What happened today that made you angry?” It’s basically the same question, but one has a better chance of landing with your teen.

Parenting is hard, but Jesus has a very helpful lesson for us in this text. The crowd was thinking about themselves (and their displeasure at being bothered by this beggar), but Jesus was thinking about the other person. Your teen is learning to express themselves, but they don’t always get it right. You may need to help them find healthy ways to express their needs. Instead of being offended by your teens lack of respect, dig a little deeper and see if there is a need you can meet. They are testing boundaries, but still need you (though they often won’t say it). Be like Jesus this week. Be brave enough to engage the need through the noise.

Monthly Bible Study

We have a monthly Bible study for 7th-12th graders on the 2nd Sunday of each month during 2nd service. We are studying Nehemiah this school year, meeting in the teen room downstairs. Please join us!