Seeing youth faith as a process

May 15, 2018 7:00:33 AM / by Bryan Bliss

T.B.D. Sparkhouse characters and artwork | Sparkhouse Blog

Zach has questions.

Tough questions that make your heart beat a little faster. Questions with urgency, born from real problems, real concerns. Questions that don’t always have black and white answers.

Suddenly, other hands are in the air and . . . well, away we go.

As youth workers, we embrace questions. We encourage our students to think deeply about their faith. But how do we prepare them to think theologically? To confront new information and respond thoughtfully?

T.B.D.: Think. Believe. Do. is a new small group series that gives students the tools to articulate, investigate, and test out their beliefs on a broad range of topics that connect to their daily lives. However, the goal isn’t to come away from each series with a settled idea about the topic. Although they might feel more settled than they did before. Instead, T.B.D. focuses on how students think, not just what they think.

T.B.D. Think. Believe. Do. New youth curriculum from Sparkhouse | Sparkhouse Blog


Each T.B.D. lesson begins with a provocative statement, meant to push students into an honest discussion about what they believe. We want their knee-jerk reactions. Their grand statements. Their tough questions. We want to know what they really think, no exceptions. Is it risky? Yes. But the reward is worth the risk. When students have their experience and knowledge validated, it gives them an opportunity to not only own the week’s lesson, but also their faith.


T.B.D. doesn’t stop with personal experiences and gut reactions. Throughout the lesson, students are given opportunities to consider new information drawn from Christian tradition, doctrine, and Scripture. What does church history say about the discussion we’re having? Does the Bible support or confound our argument? This new information allows the discussion to grow and evolve, helping students revisit, refine, and revise the statements they’ve made. And it offers them a process they can use for the rest of their lives.


Finally, T.B.D. asks students to create a practical, low-risk opportunity to test out their beliefs and report back to the group. How do my thoughts on prayer work once I leave my small group? Is this something that’s easy to say, but not so easy to live out? By introducing practical experience to the mix, students are asked to investigate how their beliefs work in the world—not just the youth room.

T.B.D. believes that students are ready not only to own their journey of faith, but to recognize that their faith is constantly in process. Who they are, what they believe, and how they live their lives is never really set. It is always to be determined.

This creates an opportunity for growth and discipleship that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

Even for kids like Zach.


The Sparkhouse T.B.D. small group curriculum for youth is now available! Learn more and discover the impact T.B.D. can have on your youth ministry.

Topics: Youth Ministry

Bryan Bliss

Written by Bryan Bliss

Bryan Bliss is a veteran youth pastor, curriculum developer, and novelist. He lives with his family in Saint Paul, Minnesota.


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