Inciting a Rebellion

I had one goal for our upper school retreat: incite a rebellion. Not a rebellion against authority or government or religion; a rebellion against low expectations. With the Scriptures at the center, we evaluated what the world says about teenagers, what the Bible says about teenagers, and what they want to say about teenagers. We examined our purpose for living (building God's Kingdom through hard work) and the purpose of community. We also took a look at the history of the word "teenager" and why we want to change the expectations people have of teenagers for today.

Our upper school students want to rebel against low expectations, do hard things, step out of their comfort zones, collaborate with one another and change the world. As you might expect, our students were eager to dig into God's Word and eager to be challenged to be more than a passive consumer of entertainment; they want to do something with the strength that God has given them in their youth. They want to learn from those who are older, stand on the shoulders of mentors as they seek to learn the skills that are needed to lead the world.

Here's a look at some of the Scriptures we studied together:

  • What does the Bible say about teenagers? Proverbs 20:29 tells us it's a glorious thing to be young and strong and it's a glorious thing to be old and wise. We learned that collaboration between the generations is the perfect blend of both glories.
  • What does the Bible say about community? Genesis 2:18 tells us it's not good for us to be alone. Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us that we are intended to spur one another on to do good things instead of competing with each other. We sharpen one another, inspire one another; we're better together.
  • What does the Bible say about work? Lamentations 3:27 tells us that it's good for young people to learn how to work hard so that they can be more effective in their older years. Hard work leads to good things. The harder the work, the better the outcome.
  • What does the Bible say about how to think? Romans 12:2 and Colossians 3:2 tell us not to take our cues from the world but to be transformed by God's Word into the image of Christ. We are called to think God's thoughts; what an incredible calling. We are to set our minds on things above. Our disappointment with what the world says about teenagers is fitting: we are supposed to be changing the world we live in for the good by reflecting God to the world. Why would we settle for anything less?

Our upper school students want to defy the world's expectations of lazy, rebellious, unproductive teenagers. They want to do more than be entertained and I believe they will. On the last day of the retreat our high school set about how to do hard things for our school as a Student Council. They voted to forego their afternoon break to extend their lunch, allowing them more time to work collaboratively to serve our school. Their discussions, ideas and determination are positively inspiring. They want to lead and I intend to let them. They are rebels. And I couldn't be more proud of them.

I'm very grateful to the two teenagers who wrote Do Hard Things. Their goal was to inspire a "rebelution." Thankfully, they have.

Be sure to visit our Facebook page to view pictures from this year's Upper School Retreat!