Love can be very confusing – especially for young people. Their music and their movies are always making suggestions about love – how to conduct the pursuit for love, when is it really love, what are the joys and pain of love. Young people are searching for guidance regarding the ways of love. Churches that choose to not respond to issues of love, dating, intimacy often stand the risk of missing one of the acute needs of developing adolescents. The challenge for us to define love is further complicated by a common cultural definition that often equates love with physical intimacy. Here is the statistics (from the Spring 1999 edition of Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner):
Young People need to hear our church’s message in the same light that disciples heard the challenge on the road to Emmaus. (Luke 24:13-35) As were the disciples (24:17), today’s youth have moments of being heartbroken (they stood still, their faces downcast) regarding love relationships. Breakup, jealously, embarrassment, regrets are all part of the learning and growing process of developing intimate relationships. Not unlike Emmaus-bound disciples, today’s young people have enough information to make them sick to their stomachs regarding intimacy and love. The previous mentioned statistics are often replayed for young people to provide momentary pause/heartburn to young people in love and/or their parents. Nonetheless, if churches are only about addressing the heartbrokenness of young people or encouraging their heartburn, they have missed the implications of the Emmaus walk. Jesus after listening to the tale of the disciples helped to make sense of their story. He made so much sense; the disciples concluded their day by describing their hearts as burning within them. (24:32)
Effective ministry with young people who are in dating relationships works at encouraging young people to recognize that their own “hearts burning” experiences are mere hints of the love that God has for them.
1. If I had a time machine and took a picture of the moment of which you are thinking, please describe that picture with only facts and details, no emotions.
2. Please describe three feeling words that you had at that moment.
3. Briefly tell the story
4. Describe what made that touch positive, significant, or meaningful