Adol Dev, the Brain, & Developing Lasting Faith in Teens //Blog


IF YOU WORK WITH TEENS, this may be the best post you have read in years! Your Adolescents may just love you for it.

Just 15 years ago, we didn’t know what was going on in the brain. Today, we know more b/c of MRI that should influence our theological conclusions. I have included THREE videos for you to watch and then ask the subsequent questions.

Fully understanding adolescent development is the one area where many churches and their youth ministries are missing in order to better develop lifelong disciples. We often must do what is counter-intuitive from what we have thought up to this point.

It is one of the major reasons why I feel that most students just aren’t fully ready for the current university structure. I think that most graduating HS students need to go to a Christian University, where there are still some boundaries to help them further develop their faith development, which ought to be the primary and foundational component to whatever vocation one is training for .

What the videos. Discuss the questions with others (spouse, leadership team, partners in ministry)


SARAH JANE BLAKEMORE’S TED TALK:…/sarah_jayne_blakemore_the_mysterious_…




  1. What did you learn that might change the way you raise, relate to, discipline, train for self-leadership for, and mentor the adolescent in your home, ministry, school?
  2. How does this information affect students’ choices? Why might we simply not be able to tell students to trust Jesus and make right decisions?
  3. Because of what we are learning about the development of the brain, what theological adjustments might you make concerning human development, sin, habits, risk taking, and why embracing doubt in young people may be the best thing you could do for them? How might hyper-spiritual-only language (e.g., telling a teen to pray more about their sin habit, et. al.) actually hinder what you are trying to accomplish?
  4. How might this affect how you change the way you equip your students for being an adult disciple with their own faith?
  5. Evaluate the proposal that most teens might well benefit from a Christian university education (or first-year at an LCU type school) as part of their long-term vocational pursuits and why the local church’s HS YM is too early to dynamically impact this process.
  6. What 2-3 specific actions might you take this week with the children (future teens) & teenagers you have any kind of connection with?


  • Clark, Chap. Hurt 2.0: Inside the World of Today’s Teenagers (Youth, Family, and Culture). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2011.
  • Oestreicher, Mark. Middle School Ministry: A Comprehensive Guide to Working with Early Adolescents. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009.
  • Jensen, Frances E. and Amy Ellis Nutt. The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults. New York: HarperCollins, 2015.
  • Siegel, Daniel J. Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2014.

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