YTH In Four Sectors Of Society
Preparing Students For Cultural Impact Isn't Going To Be Easy...
As we approach The Presidential Election of 2016, I want you to think about these 4 arenas of a teens world. This Teen Decade (2013-2019) only comes once a century. And there is only one Presidential Election in this time frame. So, as Youth Leaders, we have a great responsibility to help students impact there world with the Gospel. If we are going to effectively minister to the Youth of America, these arenas must be understood and we must teach students the value of these.
What are the key sectors in the life of a teen?
I believe there are many. But, let me give you four. 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 a biblically-centered set, where are our students going to get their information? Things such as respect for authority, the relationship 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 life
- 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, relationship with homosexuals and the LBGTQ, the sexual revolution, personal identity and calling, or even the social media and entertainment sector. Who are the ICONS and the influencer's to this generation? Do we know who is speaking into the lives of teens today? Musicians (Bieber, Perry, Gaga, or Dre), movie stars (Depp, Bell, Pitt, Washington), or social and broadcast media (Zuckerberg, Gates, SNL, 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 an Awakening 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 FAMILY ARENA
We are not just raising a 'fatherless' generation. We are raising a 'motherless' and a 'siblingless' generation also. 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 32 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, mother, and sibling 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 family leadership is one of the most necessary ingredients modeled by spiritual leaders.
- Create family friendly events in Youth Ministry
- Use an inter-generational Youth Leadership team to work with students
- Model healthy home and family as Youth Leader
- Host students in your home and have them around your family as often as poosible
- Messaging and series should regularly address the family and roles each member plays
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 placed us in as Youth Leaders will be reached when we can effectively train students in this Teen Decade to speak to these sectors in the American culture today.