I have no idea how he does it. The guy. . . his name actually is Guy. . . takes a huge bite of a chef’s signature creation, and somehow is able to engage his discriminating taste buds in ways that distinguish the ingredients individually, while commenting on how they come together as a whole. As I’ve watched Guy Fieri go from local eatery to local eatery on his signature show, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, I can only wonder at the path he took to develop such skills at ingredient and flavor discernment. Have you ever watched him? How does he do it?

While I’m guessing that very few us could discern tastes as Guy Fieri does, there is a kind of discernment that is non-negotiable for followers of Jesus Christ. It is a kind of discernment that we must desire, pursue, and practice as an aspect of our ongoing discipleship, and as a mark of obedience to God’s call on our lives. It’s the kind of discernment that the Psalmist prayed for in Psalm 119:66 – “Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.” It is the skill of understanding and applying God’s Word to all of life so that we might distinguish truth from error, wisdom from foolishness, and right from wrong.

Earlier this month, a crew of eager-to-learn youth workers gathered together in Ligonier, PA for the four-day Northeast Youth Ministry Summit. Together, we addressed the theme of “Cultivating Wisdom and Discernment” as we dove into learning practical strategies for developing these twin marks of spiritual maturity in ourselves and in our kids. As wisdom and discernment have been diminishing not only in the culture-at-large, but also in the church, our endeavor together was timely and necessary. Cultivating wisdom and discernment is a non-negotiable that we have to get right. There’s no question about it: this matters and we need to get this right.

In my seminar, How Shall They Live? Equipping Students to Navigate Culture With Wisdom and Discernment, I shared several strategies youth workers and parents can employ to develop second-nature skills in kids that will serve them for life as they follow the path of discipleship. One of the simplest strategies I share d was a practice kids (and adults. . . I do this!) can use whenever reading a passage of Scripture. It’s praying a series of four very-focused prayers for insight and application. I’ve included an infographic with the prayers that you can scroll down and find below.

In addition, two of our CPYU Research Fellows, Kerry Trunfio and Jason Engle, each led a seminar on the NYSM theme. Kerry helped youth workers understand how to minister to youth and their parents in ways that grow wisdom and discernment. Jason looked at how to develop a heart of wisdom, focusing on Paul’s Philippian prayer as a source understanding just what a heart of wisdom is.

Last week, while still excited about what happened at the Northeast Youth Ministry Summit, I went into our CPYU studio to record an episode of our Youth Culture Matters podcast with Kerry and Jason. We shared many of the practical insights and strategies we had shared at NYSM. I invite you to listen in to the episode, which I’ve embedded below. In addition, I invite you to subscribe to our Monthly CPYU Parent Page. The April 2024 edition is one you’ll want to get into the hands of your parents as it includes an article on “Raising Discerning Kids.”

Cultivating wisdom and discernment in your kids needs to be that top of your priority list. It has to happen! They are navigating a world filled with choices. . . some small, and some large. . . and what they decide needs to be shaped by the truths of God’s Word.


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