At the heart of the previous belief systems is a belief system known as relativism which teaches that truth and moral values are not absolute but are relative to the persons or groups holding them. In other words, when we declare something to be right or true, it is only right or true for us based on our upbringing and on our life experiences. Someone else might declare the same thing to be false or untrue and we would both be right.
Relativism therefore is at odds with a Biblical faith that declares certain things to be true because God, in the Bible, declares them to be so. We therefore respectfully disagree with the young person who is likely to say to us “It’s true for whoever wrote that, but it’s not true for me.”
An effective youth ministry will not allow relativism to lead it into compromising Biblical truth. As leaders we will declare what God says is true even if it means that truth is rejected.
However, we will at the same time take into account this belief system and will allow and even encourage young people to explore Scripture for themselves and express their own opinions. Instead of labelling incorrect conclusions as being “wrong”, a wise leader will ask questions that help young people uncover inconsistencies for themselves. If Scripture really is “true” then skilful questioning on the leader’s part will guide a young person toward drawing right conclusions. In the spirit of relativism they will declare “I believe in faith that the Bible is true, not because my youth leader told me it was true but because I was given opportunity to develop my own convictions.”
To illustrate this in practice, each week in our youth programme time was devoted to allow young people to discuss Scripture and share their opinions, but we would end the night with a brief but clear presentation of what the Bible actually taught, so that no one was unclear as to what God declared to be True.