Why Genesis Is Important to Youth Workers

Among the reasons, why I have been posting a few thoughts on my readings of Genesis is that these questions are not just my own – but they reflect years of discussions with doubters, Christian and non-Christian. Even more, many of these thoughts have been asked by students over the years. If you are a part of an evangelical culture that allows for the expression of doubts and questions, you will know from your own experiences that this is a good thing.

Having questions about the Bible is not wrong or heretical. In fact, it’s necessary for any disciple to be a learning one and among the ways we learn is from questions. The problem becomes when we place ourselves over the authority of Scripture and/or objectify God as if He were a being to satisfy our intellectual curiosity or a being that simply exists to give us what we want. God was not created for our amusement, but rather we as part of His creation for His pleasure, glory, and communion.

So where does a humble, truth-searching disciple start? The Beginning seems a fair place. And so, we find ourselves reading through Genesis with a lot of questions. I am not sure if it’s an exaggeration to say that I have been asked more times about the topic of evolution and the Bible than I have about the validity of the resurrection and whether or not pre-marital sex is really an “abomination”. The bottom line is students are interested in the topic of origins. And can you blame them?

I remember the first time someone my age told me that they believed in theistic evolution. It startled me because I believed his faith to not only be quite genuine but one that I greatly admired. Initially, I dismissed it as, “Well not everyone can be perfect. Some people struggle with porn and love Jesus and some people struggle with Darwinism and love Jesus. May the Lord loosen the chains that grip our hearts …” Some time later, I accepted that this was his conviction in the same way that I accept that some people love the Lord just as much as I do but really believe that the consumption of alcohol is sinful.

Certainly, I used to see such questioning as the beginning of the slippery slope that would eventually lead to the destruction of their faith but things changed for me. I remember a student in my first church telling me he believed in evolution. I began counting the days when I would hear the news of him quitting his faith, it never came and he’s a growing believer today (Facebook told me so).

Mark my words, there are many who call themselves the same type of Christian as you, who will hold very similar beliefs as you but are not following Jesus. Relax and know the Lord will be their judge (and yours). But take comfort in the realization, that there are many who call themselves a very different type of Christian, that have different beliefs but join you in the praise, “Christ is Risen from the dead – Hallelujah!”

After a few years in youth ministry, you begin to realize that not only are students not going to hold many of your convictions, you also realize that you do want them to. Why is that you say? Because for the students who are pursuing a growing relationship with God, they are to be led by the Holy Spirit. This releases me as a youth pastor (and more importantly, parents) from being their personal conscience to being guides who love, nurture, and serve them along their journey.

Genesis is important to me as a youth pastor because in a student’s search for identity, they inevitably come here. When I am teaching about Genesis, whether in a group context or one-on-one, I emphasize that among the major themes of Genesis is that God is the sovereign, loving Creator of All and He is the God of Abraham. Certainly, unpacking that reveals my evangelical convictions but those two points are crucial for any student trying to make sense of a fallen world with a God who is near.


  1. This spoke to my heart. Over the past year I’ve considered how God reveals himself in the context of man’s purpose on earth. Going back to Genesis and remembering that we were created for relationship with God, with each other, and to tend the garden (work) has helped settle questions in my own life. To hear you extol the relevance of Genesis for those working with youth is a great message.

  2. Jared, thanks for reading and I appreciate your comment.

    Catch you soon my friend.

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