The Six Sectors Of A Teens World
As we approach The Coming Teen Decade, 2013-2019, I want you to think about the 6 arenas of a teens world. A Teen Decade only comes once a century. As youth leaders, we have a great responsibility to reach students with the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we are going to effectively minister to the youth of America, these arenas must be understood.
What are the key sectors in the life of a teen?
I believe there are many. But, let me give you six. That is a good start.
1. THE POLITICAL ARENA
What are the issues involved with politics and youth? Too often the church has avoided issues that divide. Fearing that if we speak to current affairs in culture that we will be considered 'Politically-Incorrect'. But, if we don't speak about the issues from biblically-centered set, where are our students going to get their information? Things such as respect for authority, the distance of the church and politics, and, of course, morality and values.
How do these areas affect the youth culture?
We must create political involvement with youth by regularly addressing the issues in their lives
Praying publicly in church services for the youth issues
Creating a culture of government support by praying for civic leaders
Demonstrating boldness and courage of the mission of the church and the Kingdom in government through voting
2. THE SOCIAL ARENA
What are the social and cultural issues we should be aware of? It may be the marriage amendment right now, homosexuality (LBGT), the sexual revolution, personal identity and our place in the world, or even the social media and entertainment sector. Who are the ICONS and the influencers to this generation? Do we know who is speaking into the lives of teens today? Musicians (Bieber, Perry, Gaga, or Dre), movie stars (Depp, Pitt, Washington, or ), or social media (Zuckerberg, Gates, Leno, or Kimmel). There are so many people shaping the youth culture and we don't know anything about them. As youth leaders we must have an informed platform that speaks to the social role models of the world teens are growing up in. Are you praying for these Icons? Do you now how to counter their message? God's sociologist's understand the times and know what to do about it.
Here are some practical tips to constructive Social Media guidelines for teens:
Passwords to all devices must be shared with an adult
Your computer must be set in a place where all eyes can see the screen
Do not check social media until you have read the Bible first
Your time on social media should be less than your time in the word/prayer
Think before you 'send' (your accounts become your future resume)
Limit your social media interaction to when you are not with other people
3. THE RELIGIOUS ARENA
Where is the church? Have we lost our voice? There is such a great need for a revival in the church today. To bring back the voice of reason, wisdom, and respect. Of power, courage, and Godliness. To gain the leverage that Christ so wants us to have. But, with our own compromise, fear, and classic arguments, we have lost our influence. There is such a rise in pluralism and humanism and meism that our generation has made another flight from the church. Is truth relevant to my lifestyle? What about absolutes? At a time when sin and paganism is rising the church should be rising with it and not falling. Rising with truth and maturity and grace to meet the paganism of this world. Youth leaders who are not ashamed to preach and to teach the Word of God. To live before teens in such a way that they will see a clear picture of God in our lives.
4. THE EDUCATIONAL ARENA
The school system will get our students about 42 hours a week. More if they are athletes or musicians or thespians. The church will get them 90 minutes to 3 hours per week. How can we overcome such secular or peer influence? The presence of God in the couple of hours a week that we have can be transformational. But, it will take work to maximize this time effectively and create moments that students will never forget. Of course, not everything that teens take in in the educational process is detrimental to their faith. Afterall, all truth is God's truth. But, what is our plan to shape this youth culture when we have so little time? Create a strategic plan for your life and ministry. Your mission. How often will you be on campus? Do you pray for schools publicly? Are you preparing your students to be campus missionary's? We must train this generation to see the campus as a place to live out their faith.
5. THE IN-CARNATIONAL ARENA
The power of an intentional life is significant. All of us as youth leaders must answer the relationship question. What is more important? Our witness or our withness? I say both are vital. One of the dangers that could be affecting our faith is that we lose the closing. We are with people all along the way, but, we never bring them to a decision. At some point people must come to a decision or they will be 60 and finally give their lives to Christ. St. Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary, use words." I really do get that. But, I think that too many of us have taken that as license to be silent."
6. THE FAMILY ARENA
If there is a time in history when Malachi's prophecy from chapter 4 seemed more needed, it is now. I have been in youth ministry for almost 30 years. And the problem of broken homes has always been a growing phenomenon in the youth culture. However, I have never seen it like this before. I ask students all the time about 'family dinner' or 'family vacation' or 'family devotions' and have come to realize these are almost non-existent. There is an absence of father in American homes that has added to the crime, sexual dysfunction, anger, lack of purpose, and economic peril so prevalent in our society. Strong and biblical male leadership is one of the most necessary ingredients modeled by spiritual leaders.
All of this is to challenge the church to “cultural meaningfulness.” The process of communicating the biblical Gospel in such a way as to make it meaningful to the people of any given cultural context. The culture that God has given us as youth leaders will be reached when we can effectively speak to these sectors in the American culture today.