Adolescence is a Special Stage that Deserves Special Attention

In her recent book, In Search of Adolescence: A New Look at an Old Idea, Crystal Kirgiss accomplishes a profoundly important goal: Defining adolescence as a special stage of maturity that deserves special attention from adults who care to see them mature in Christ.

In Search of Adolescence


There is an empty postmodern skepticism creeping into some churches that toys with the idea that someone made up “adolescence” as a label to explain the sometimes awkward transition between childhood and adulthood. It questions whether churches out to give special attention to youth ministry. It cynically and subtly suggests that childhood is the ideal stage of innocence and adulthood is the supreme goal of life. In contrast, Crystal shows through well-documented historical research that youth is a god-designed, wonderful, distinct stage of human growth that if empowered properly can grow seedlings of potential into mature fruit-filled trees that will bless generations.

RELATED: 3 Things Teenagers Need to Hear from Adults

Crystal helps advocate for the importance of churches becoming excellent and invested in youth ministry.  I commend Crystal on her accomplishment to provide those of us passionate youth ministry developers with a credible historical resource to support our mission.


I guess if you’ve ever been a teenager you will look back and completely understand how shaping this life stage is. Depending on what kind of guidance and mentoring a teenager gets through their adolescence, it can go really well or really poorly with lots of unfortunate consequences. Youth ministry seeks to provide that needed mentoring and love during adolescence which is a season of growth and maturity. Some of my favorite quotes about teenagers drive this point home:
I think being a teenager is such a compelling time period in your life–it gives you some of your worst scars and some of your most exhilarating moments. – Stephanie Meyer
In times of struggle and failure, we need to do more than pronounce judgment on what’s wrong and enforce punishment. We need to talk, discuss, question, evaluate, engage, and interact with our teenagers, hoping that God will use these moments of opportunity to open their eyes a little more to who they really are and to their constant need for Christ. – Paul David Tripp
One should guard against preaching to young people success in the customary form as the main aim in life. The most important motive for work in school and in life is pleasure in work, pleasure in its result and the knowledge of the value of the result to the community. –  Albert Einstein

RELATED: The Appeal of Jesus: A Youth Ministry Book by Ashley Denton


If you’d like to know more about how youth and adolescence has been understood and approached throughout history, I would highly recommend reading In Search of Adolescence.