***Warning EXPLICIT AUTHENTICITY TO FOLLOW***
I work daily with teenagers which means I see a lot of stuff that makes me laugh, shake my head in wonder as well as I see insight into what this generational culture values are & see’s what is important for their own life.
6 months ago a 17 year old walked into our High School Gathering wearing a shirt explaining why "crap" happens to all the religions of the world.
It made me laugh. It made me laugh cause this is a kid who had never been to church 3 weeks prior to the night he wore this shirt, EVER. Since then I’ve continued to spend time with him exploring what he’s been processing since coming and plugging into our high school ministry.
He values being accepted. Several times he has brought up in our conversations that he can’t believe how nice everyone is. It’s not like school wear there are cliques & people don’t want certain types of other people around. His quote, “I like being able to not be an outsider despite by lack of belief”
He likes the encouragement & challenges he gets for his life. I’ve asked him what is it that keeps him coming back and several times he’s brought up that what is taught forces him to think about what is valuable to him. I’ve asked him, point blank, if what has been taught has stirred anything in his heart or soul. Here are all the discussions he remembers and felt it challenged his view on God & Life: Faith, heaven, hell, salvation, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, doubt, Fear of God.
Here is a 17-year-old guy, who has not accepted Christ as God, Savior & Lord, but finds value in discussions & messages about Scripture and faith based living.
He’s ok compartmentalizing life. A crucial crutch this generation uses is compartmentalizing of life in regards to lifestyles. It is easy for them to live with the values they want to live with even if it doesn’t match up with the actions their life shows. Faith based living or non-faith based living people have values, morals & ethics they want to live by, they are willing for those values to act more like straw than stone. Situations they find themselves in or around will force them to alter values in one breath. This student is willing to look at the Bible as valuable tool to guide through life, but the message of Jesus being God isn’t something he’s at a point to discuss.
My time with talking with teens reminds me that deep discussions on faith & foundations for their lives is a must. Challenging questions with standards & absolutes is essential to help them think deeper and even handle the battle of cultural push back that lives opposite to even itself.
Yes, in a cheesy way, when I see homeboy next door driving a Range Rover, working 8-5 at the six figure corner office and traveling the world living in South Orange County I get to smile, remind myself that what I do has a greater impact in peoples lives.