The Unlocked teen devotional turns one year old

By July 10, 2020

USA (MNN) — Keys for Kids’ teen devotional tackles tough topics through multiple genres and a Gospel lens.

Unlocked was born when camp directors reached out to Keys for Kids Ministries and asked for a resource for teen campers. An editorial assistant at the time, Kandi Zeller helped shape what the new devotional would be. This month, Unlocked celebrates its first anniversary.

Now the Unlocked Editor, Zeller describes the vision behind the devotional. “It is a daily teen devotional that is sort of like Keys for Kids. But instead of just having the stories every day, we have different genres every day. So, you might have sci-fi fantasy, you might have poetry, you might have an essay, and all of those daily devotions connects back to the Gospel. How does Jesus and what He did affect the topic we’re talking about?”

Unlocked doesn’t shy away from tough topics such as sexuality, mental health, and grief. Zeller says, “Our whole mindset is that we will address any topic because the Gospel addresses everything. Because we are keeping it scripture-rooted and centered on Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection, that gave us a framework to move into these conversations because they are so important.”

The logo for Unlocked. (Photo courtesy of Unlocked on Facebook)

Not everyone is happy to see Keys for Kids tackling tough topics from a Gospel-centered perspective, Zeller says. “Sometimes that does result in some angry letters. But we also hear back from people saying this has been really helpful that we engaged with these difficult subjects.”

Immediate impact

Shortly after the first issue of Unlocked came out, Keys received a message from a mother. Her son’s friend had visited them for several days, and they had read Unlocked together. During his visit, they also attended their church and heard the Gospel preached.

The son’s friend made a commitment to Christ and now reads Unlocked to help him grow in his new faith. Zeller says, “That’s exactly how we would like it to be used. It’s really not made to be in a vacuum. You certainly can read it on your own. But we want to encourage teens to [participate] in their local church with trusted Christians around them.”

Do you want to write for Unlocked? You can find the writer’s guidelines and the writer’s newsletter here. You can also subscribe to the devotional here

One way Christians can help is to pray that the Gospel will be clear when teens read Unlocked. “We’re also praying that the hearts of our readers and the hearts of the Christian adults in their lives would be prepared to have those difficult discussions. Because sometimes those are so hard and people get really afraid to have them.”



Unlocked accepts multiple different genres, including sci-fi fantasy. (Header image by Alexander Antropov from Pixabay )

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