Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Bridging the Word and the World

1/23 2014

Questions are the answer?


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Questions are the saving grace of our Wednesday night youth group at Homestead United Presbyterian Church.

To provide a bit of context, our group meets at 6:00 p.m., we share a meal prepared by a gracious church member, we play an ice breaker game, and then we have an hour-long Bible study! I give a short 10-15 minute presentation on the passage chosen for the week, after which the remaining 45 minutes is just a traditional Bible study. This includes ages ranging from 6th grade to the youth group adult helpers whose age I prefer to leave unannounced.

The Bible study, (rightly so) has become the climax of our night. It is truly a magnificent experience and has helped all who are present grow in our knowledge of scripture and our relationship with God. Often times I wonder how this is possible. Yes of course through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but how does this Bible study with such a wide range of ages not become another lecture from the older generation to the younger? The answer for our group is found in an inquisitive teenage girl who is unashamed to ask the “tough” question and is unwilling to settle for any answer that is theologically and philosophically flawed and void of truth. (My own interpretation but I think it fits.)

When I started my internship at HUPC, I was warned about this inquisitive girl. The members groaned with pains of agony when her, and her brother, who has moved on to college, were mentioned. Sudden circumstances left the church without a youth pastor – forcing the members to pick up the burden. So, in their defense they were not trained, nor had they even considered some of the deep questions that were asked.

As someone who studied religion in undergrad and now on my way out of seminary, I was excited for the challenge and was not disappointed. To paint a picture, this young lady is home schooled, loves to read especially – Harry Potter – and carries an authentic vibe with everything she does. She has not been corrupted by the awkward social standards found in the school halls, and she is not burdeedn with the concern of other people’s opinion. It really is a blessing to the whole group. Were it not for her, our group would not be a Bible study, just a lecture.

Nonetheless, the greatest blessing in her questions is the fact that she really searches for the truth without the critical tone I’ve come to expect from my fellow classmates. She simple wants to grow in her faith; and the result, she is the one who has grown the most in my short time with the group. She is the brightest apprentice of the group, and has pushed me, the youth workers, and the other students to think deeper about everything we confess. This young lady brings to life the words of Jesus, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you (Matt. 7:7),” not only for herself, but for our entire group and I couldn’t be more thankful.

Written by Damian Berry, M.A. student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary