I wish i could say that i was a huge influence on today’s youth. Telling you that i was, would be a lie. As a youth leader, you strive to pour into the lives of teens the gospel. Every aspect of our life is revolved around our calling. If you have a wife and kids (which i don’t yet) you have to find a balance between the two.
Today’s youth are immensely difficult to understand. The mind of a teenager is far and wide. Keeping focus of a teens mind during a sermon, message, or whatever you would like to call it, takes a little more “umph” in your tone. A monotone speaker is quick to lose the attention of a teen. This is something that i personally struggle with. If a monotone speaker is speaking, i absolutely can not stay focused!
One way i plan on improving my speaking is to keep it different. When you approach teenagers to share the gospel, keep it fun, keep it real, keep it different. One thing most teens will tell you is that they want you to be REAL with them. They don’t want a friend, they already have plenty of them. They want someone to teach them how to be a Christian adult.
This generation also has a strong focus on self. Child-rearing “experts” told their parents that the self-esteem of children is fragile. They advocated parenting approaches that made children the center of the family and convinced each other that “I am very, very special”. At the same time, growing financial prosperity has meant children and teenagers no longer have to work in order for a family to survive. Well-meaning parents have released their offspring from work inside or outside the home as a loving gift.
High school graduates who feel special and who never developed a strong work ethic tend to approach employment with this sentiment: “I deserve to do only work that is meaningful and rewarding to me– and that offers growth potential so i can continue doing only those things i want to do.” But, given their lack of skills and training, those 18-25 tend to find only hourly jobs that are somewhat menial and not “meaningful”. Their frustration with such positions causes them to change jobs frequently. On average they change positions seven times between the ages of 20 and 29.
Changing romantic partners often, changing jobs often, and thus moving often gives those in this age range a sense of instability. This uncertainty also causes them to sense they are not adults.
To conclude, i just want to blare the importance of the role of a youth leader. Our calling is fun, but serious at the same time. If you are a youth leader, or have teenagers, teach them about Christ. Make everything you do or talk about include Christ. Most importantly, be the example of a Godly man or woman. Pour into them the verity of Jesus.
“Let no one despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until i come, give your attention to public reading, exhortation, and teaching. (1 Timothy 4:6)