Teens who are struggling may find little reason to attend church. When their world is crumbling, it’s hard for them to see its role in their life. But in truth, it can save them.

Church can be a vital part of self-growth for everyone who attends. For teens in crisis, church is especially powerful, providing a place of love, hope, acceptance, and direction.

When teens attend church or a church function, they are surrounded by many strong role models and mentors. These individuals can renew hope in teens wrestling with issues of self-worth. They can provide reassurance that although life may be disappointing right now, it is bound to get better. And they can reiterate the importance of making healthy choices for a better tomorrow. This is the guiding light of ministry.

Many churches also offer a community of people who love and care for one another unconditionally. No matter the situation, many individuals will step forward to help a hurting teen. Despite some stereotypes, there are many churches that do not judge and that ultimately want the best for each and every person who steps through their doors.

For many teens, a mission or service opportunity might be a great opportunity to get their minds off their problems. Every ministry has its own mission that empowers church members and those in the community they serve. Having a mission often helps teens see beyond themselves and gives them a good reason to stay on a positive track.

Sometimes the best way to get on track to positive thinking is to talk openly about the things that are going wrong with someone who cares. Church leaders are in the business of listening. Churches offer a confidential place to confess and confide. This could be a starting point for a teen who is struggling. Talking to someone and knowing that they are not alone could be exactly what a teen needs to begin a new life. Increasingly, church leaders are being trained on mental illness and are partnering with mental health providers to link struggling individuals with services that can help.

There is much in the Bible to offer solace and comfort to hurting individuals. The Gospels, Paul’s writings in the New Testament, and many of the Psalms provide guidance and hope. Each church has people who will pray and discuss Scripture with a teen. Sometimes it helps to know your problems are not new!

Perhaps the most important role of a church is to provide positive social interaction and a strong support system. Talking with people and becoming involved with church-sponsored activities can be a great way to get a struggling teen to focus on others and more positive living. As humans, we are hard-wired for love and belonging. Inherently, churches are filled with people who have accepted and received love from God and want to reach out to others and share that love.

Being a teen can be painful at times. Churches offer them a way to express themselves and give back. They not only offer a relationship with God but also relationships with others.