Will You Be There?

"I wanna leave my footprints on the sands of time, know there was something that, something that I left behind, when I leave this world, I'll leave no regrets, leave something to remember, so they won't forget, I was here." -Beyonce', I Was Here



We are beginning the 7 years of "The Teen Decade" (2013-2019). Over the past two years, I have been praying for seven years of awakening upon the youth culture in America. This song by Beyonce' has been ringing in my ears lately. I want to ask the youth leaders in America to be there. Wherever the students are, that we walk into their world and 'do'. Will you be a part of their world? Will you leave a mark on their lives? It's simple, here is what we are asking for:

First, “cultural meaningfulness.” The process of communicating the Gospel in such a way as to make it meaningful to the people of any given cultural context. Contextualization has been defined so as to include socio-political involvement, incarnational lifestyle, application as over against exposition of the biblical text, and so on. 
 
 
Who are the ICONS and the influencer's of 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 Stewart), or social media (Zuckerberg, Gates, Daly, 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? 
 
Third, "Religious meaningfulness." 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 truth, 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. 
 
Fourth, "Family meaningfulness." 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. 
 
If there is a time in history when Malachi's prophecy from chapter 4 seemed more needed, it is now. 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. In a culture of blended homes, it may take dad's, mom's, grandpa's, grandma's, aunts, and uncles to build our homes.
 
Can you say, "I Was Here?"  That you were where they are. That you left a mark on this world and especially teenagers.

To shape the youth culture in its setting is going to take intention and planning. It will take youth leaders who are willing to master each of these sectors and becoming professional at it.  In The Coming Teen Decade, will you ask the Lord for wisdom and understanding of the times, and, as one of God's Sociologists, to know what to do about it? These four sectors must be approached by every youth leader. These are the avenues to reach students today.
Jeff Grenell