Kelvin Doe grew up in a single-parent home in a poverty-stricken and war-torn area of Sierra Leone, West Africa. Though many would have seen this as an obstacle, Kelvin saw it as a challenge.
Using trash from a nearby dump, 11-year-old Kelvin began creating electronic parts, eventually allowing him to start a radio station in his home with equipment he had made. His radio station shares messages of inspiration with his community, bringing hope to those in difficult circumstances.
Kelvin is using his God-given creativity, passion, and perseverance to change his community—and the world. This is Kelvin’s story:
Christians are called to use the gifts and talents God has given them to serve others. Kelvin is using his intelligence and creativity to make a difference in the world. His innovations and his inspirational thinking are causing people all over the globe to stop seeing problems as difficulties and instead see them as opportunities.
God gave the youth in your community amazing and useful brains and unbelievable skills and talents, too. So how can you teach them to use their brains, skills, and talents to bring glory to God? You can teach them to be Christian critical thinkers.
Proverbs 18:15 (ESV) tells us that God values critical thinking: “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” Critical thinking is analyzing and evaluating a situation or problem with the intent of improving it. According to Global Digital Citizen, “Critical thinking is clear, rational, logical, and independent thinking. It’s about improving thinking by analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing how we think…It’s thinking on purpose!”
When combined with Christian thinking—allowing your mind to be renewed and your life transformed by the knowledge of God as we learn in Romans 12:2—you can find creative solutions to even the most difficult problems.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God,
who gives generously to all without reproach,
and it will be given him.
—James 1:5 (ESV)
Identify the Problem—Though He already knew the answers, Jesus often asked people to share their problems with Him. Jesus helped them to re-evaluate their perspective and recognize what they truly needed, as He did with Bartimaeus, who wanted to be healed of his blindness but received so much more from Jesus than he ever expected. When you identify the problem with the eyes of Jesus, you will see clearly what needs to be done.
Ask God for Wisdom—Jesus knows that God is the source of true wisdom, and He always went to the source for advice and help. Jesus sought God’s wisdom each time He faced a problem—and His solutions always reflected His faithfulness to His Father. James 1:5 (ESV) shares, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” God will give you wisdom to make God-honoring choices if you trust in Him.
Ask Important Questions—Jesus asked questions to gather information, even though He already knew more about the people and the situations than we ever could. This allowed Him to develop relationships with the people He was helping and allowed them to learn from Him. When He asked Peter, “Who do you say I am?” (Mark 8:29, ESV), He was not asking for clarification; He was asking Peter what was in his heart. When you follow Jesus’ example and find out more about what is in the hearts of others, you can find solutions that carefully consider the needs and emotions of others.
Find a Fresh Perspective—Jesus always presented a creative solution to the problems He faced, redirecting those who wanted to stone a sinner by encouraging them to reflect on their own sin and helping the Pharisees to understand that loving and serving God is so much more than knowing and obeying His laws. God also gave you creativity to look at your problems in a new way to find unique and insightful solutions.
Invite Others to Participate—Jesus allows His followers to take part in transforming the world, even though He can accomplish His purposes without them. He used the fishes and loaves of a young boy to feed thousands and allowed Mary to share the news of His resurrection with the world. When you have a problem to solve, you can benefit from the contributions of others as you collaborate to find innovative and God-honoring solutions.
In any situation, the critical thinking skills modeled by Jesus can help you to arrive at a solution that reflects God’s wisdom and love. These skills can also benefit the young people in your community. By using skills like these, young people can be Christian innovators and creative problem-solvers who impact their families, communities, and countries—and even the world! And their creativity and innovation will bring glory to the One who created them!
Life on Life Young Teen includes lessons to help the young people in your community develop critical thinking skills so they can use their gifts and intelligence to serve God. Life on Life Young Teen provides valuable spiritual formation, character development, and life skills instruction to help young teens grow closer to God as they learn to become the caring Christian adults God has created them to be.
For more information about Life on Life, see the “About” tab on the home page of this site.
The following articles and videos provide more information about critical thinking and biblical creative problem-solving: