Episode 107

Understanding Teen Faith with Melina Luna Smith

Published on: 24th August, 2023

Learn more about Preaching in a Post-Christian Age.

Youth group. Sunday school. Church camp. What's your reaction to these words? Do you get a nostaglic smile on your face? Do you have a mild cardiac infarction? Whether you've led a youth ministry or not, we've all been teens, and many, many of us have memories associated with teen formation in different Christian contexts. From pies in the face for Jesus, to inductive Bible studies, to folk music and popcorn prayer, there have been many ways to approach ministry to young people. Do we get really serious, down to the no-funny-business of Christian discipleship and life transformation? Or do we hang out with pizza and some games, and pray, with a lot of grace, and no pressure, that something happens, eventually, God-wise?  

Turns out, ministry to teens is about sensing how to strike a wise balance, and it's a lot about our own security and maturity as a Christian adults. Today we'll talk about: the importance of the heart and feelings in teen catechesis; how to engage teens emotionally without making it all about feelings; how to invite questions that drive into the faith rather than away from it; how we can have confidence and clarity without harshness; and why we should love the Bible more than good behavior. 

Taking us to this magical land of youth ministry is Melina Luna Smith. Melina is executive director of Storymakers, a not-for-profit creative studio that designs imaginative resources for kids and teens, including Bible- and creed-immersive zines. She is deep in lay ministry at the Parish of Calvary St. George’s in New York City, and loves working at the intersections of design, beauty, and imagination for the good of communities and the kingdom of God.

If you like this conversation, join us at Calvary St. George's for our preaching conference in New York this November, for a refresher and refreshing course in communicating God's Word. You might even get to meet Melina. (She happens to be married to the rector.)

Now put on your most normal-looking mom jeans and grab your Bible. It's time to be exactly yourself with young people and share the gospel in a real and lasting way. It's possible. Maybe not even that complicated. We hope you enjoy the conversation. 

Check out Storymakers.

Learn more about Preaching in a Post-Christian Age.

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The Living Church Podcast
The Living Church Podcast explores ecumenical topics in theology, the arts, ethics, pastoral care, and spiritual growth — all to equip and encourage leaders in the Episcopal Church, Anglican Communion, and beyond. A ministry of the Living Church Institute.