Teenagers are not kids, not yet adults. They want to be treated with respect, but they’re dealing with hormones that make them crazy, pressures to get into the right college, and interpersonal relationship drama that would make a soap opera writer blush.
Yet in the middle of this turmoil, a new kind of teenager is emerging. Leading the pack is Sarah Scheidt, a 14-year-old high school freshman from Seaside Park, NJ.
“My parents were watching TV one night, and a commercial for Dare to Be a Daniel came on,” says Sarah. “My family thought it was a really great idea to train kids to be evangelists for Christ.”
Dare to Be a Daniel (D2BD) is a program from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association that seeks to equip tweens and early teens to share their faith in Jesus with others. Through a fun, interactive website and support from their local church community, these young people are given simple steps and tools to use when telling others about Christ.
Scheidt’s parents were so impressed with what they saw in the television commercial, they signed Sarah up right away. “I loved it and thought it was great,” Sarah says.
Sarah was known around her school as an outspoken believer, but says, “Before D2BD, I told my friends about Christ, but I felt unprepared. The program gave me a confidence to talk to people, and the website has been an awesome tool with articles and interviews.”
Because of Sarah’s participation in the D2BD program, she was selected to appear in a BGEA television special. A television crew visited Sarah’s hometown and recorded a day in her life – going to school, hanging out with friends, and attending church.
“I never thought any of that would happen,” Sarah laughs. “All the kids at my school thought there was someone famous at our school, and I was like, ‘No, it’s just me!’”
Sarah even used the recording time as an opportunity to share her faith in Christ. “Kids asked about [the crew] and I had the chance to witness to them and tell them about Dare to Be a Daniel.”
Sarah understands the stereotypes about teenagers, but she hopes the adults around her see something different about her and her friends. “A lot of my friends are really on fire for God and really involved in our youth group,” Sarah explains.
“Some people say all teenagers are rebellious, but I wish they could come to my church and see my friends there who are so excited about their relationship with God,” she adds.
For someone like Sarah, it’s frustrating to see those teens around her who give lip service to Jesus or religion, but shy away from living it out or telling their friends about their relationship with Christ. “If God really is the Lord of your life, how could you stay silent about it?” she wonders.
D2BD has given Sarah tools to boldly share her faith in Jesus Christ with her peers. “I love the dog tags [that came with the program],” she says. “You just wear them, people read them and ask you about it. It’s so simple, but it’s a really cool tool. You don’t have to make it complicated.”
Though it was an honor to be part of the television special, Sarah’s motivation to share her faith with others goes well beyond a television appearance. “People die every day,” she says soberly. “To think about people slipping away without having a relationship with Christ is terrible.”
For those of us who are well beyond our teen years, Sarah is certainly a breath of fresh air. She seems to have her priorities in order and her path laid out in straight line before her. Let’s hope in the years to come that she becomes the rule rather than the exception.