Living as a young Christian
Teenager Samuel Pedlar (17) shares some of his experiences ...
Culture through Christian eyes
My sister and I coach a football team for 10-year-olds. As a coaching team comprising of a 17-year-old and a 19-year-old, we are the youngest set of coaches in our club. As teenagers and Christians too, we naturally see things differently to most other coaches. The boots that we wear and the balls we kick, the games that we play and the accolades we receive are not life and death for us.
But for some others they are. It’s strange to see grown adults saying their weekends would be ruined by a bad result in a children’s football match.
Football is a game that was created for fun and friendly competition, but somehow for many people it has taken the place of God in their lives. Football along with music, celebrity culture and consumerism are not bad or damaging if they are handled in the right way, with the correct attitude and outlook. I would be the first to admit that each of these has sucked me in and sometimes led me down damaging paths – it is easy to be caught up.
Christianity in school
My experience of being a Christian in school was a difficult one. I attended a Church of England Primary School and an Inter-Church Secondary School until I was 14. We had church assemblies and special services when events were on. Everything about the school was Christian – except the attitudes of those within it. I remember one Ash Wednesday – a priest came into school and ran a service. At the end he asked if anyone wanted to be anointed with ash on their forehead. It sounded good and it was, until those who were anointed were teased mercilessly for it.
My faith was rocked dramatically by the way active Christian belief was treated in my schools, but I found that after I left over time being surrounded by the truth of who God is – it returned stronger than ever.
The growing voice of young people in the Church
With all of this in mind, I am encouraged to see a more accepting, caring and welcoming attitude growing in the Church towards young people.
May each of us endeavour to grow the atmosphere of understanding within our churches so each of us will always know that it is a safe place. A place where we can experience a closeness to and guidance from God and his people no matter how our lives may turn out.
Proverbs 18:10 (NLT)
The name of the Lord is a strong fortress;
the godly run to him and are safe.
- Samuel is based in Cambridgeshire and worships at his local community church