In case you haven’t noticed, this magazine is not targeted directly at teens. (Hopefully the tip off was the utter lack of Bieber or Twilight photos.) That said, the cover blurb proclaims MORF “The Magazine That Loves Your Teens,” which might be a bit of a head scratcher.
MORF Magazine exists primarily to promote spiritual devotion in teenagers, which is why every issue focuses on the spiritual health and depth of parents, youth ministers and youth workers. (Huh?) You read that right. We encourage adult mentors because the most significant factor in the sustained spiritual growth of a young person is a parent or mentor actively modeling personal spiritual growth.
When you grow in your personal faith, the teens around you have a far better chance of experiencing their own growth.
No pressure, right?
Actually, it’s no pressure at all because the Holy Spirit’s the one in charge of transformation. Your job is to draw as close as humanly possible to Jesus and hopefully be able to echo Paul’s desire in 1 Corinthians 11:1: Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.
It’s a spiritual version of trickle-down economics. By setting aside the meetings and phone calls and email and Facebook and whatever else to devote some time to God in prayer, Bible study, Christian community, service, essential Biblical Truth, service or influencing the world around you for the Kingdom, you exponentially increase the chances that the young people within your sphere will follow your lead to the foot of the cross.
That takes a weight off. … Or does it?
Many people in ministry – whether paid, volunteer or simply parental (yes, all parents are by definition ministers to their children. Read Deuteronomy 11:18-21 and weep.) – often get so overwhelmed doing “good” work, they forget to put in real work on their personal connection with Christ. (That definitely described me.)
It’s similar to a marriage relationship. You get so caught up in the business of being married – the bills and errands and Billy’s soccer practice – that you forget to focus on what actually knits your heart to a mate – the long conversations and road trips and dates and shared hobbies and life experiences. Unfortunately, the elements that build a healthy marriage often get crowded out by the urgent yet mundane, which is tragic.
Especially since the children of a strong marriage have an exponentially greater chance of enjoying a strong marriage of their own. (See how I did that? The connection? If not, go back and read it again.)
MORF Magazine wants to make you a strong follower of Christ, because strong followers beget strong followers beget strong… you get the picture. Refuel your spiritual gas tanks with an article on Sabbath rest (p50), a personal Bible study on who God is (p56), or how youth minister Jeff Lovingood found purpose (p24).
You can also inspire your teens with tips for praying out loud (p58), sharing the open letters from their Christian peers (p42) or by holding up the legacy of James Eunice (p35).
MORF doesn’t pretend to love your teens more than you. Our hope is to somehow make you even better at loving them.
Bryan Belknap joined Student Life as creative director after 15 years in Los Angeles selling scripts (that never got made) and authoring eight books (that did get published). He was GROUP magazine's media editor for nine years and recently served as director of small gatherings, children and youth at Ecclesia Hollywood. He loves his family, Johnny Cash, and the Dallas Mavericks.