While I can name plenty of reasons, I have narrowed it down to three major reasons why people in the church should love teens: They are hungry, they need the love and guidance, and Jesus loves them. These are some of the reasons why I love youth, so why do you?
This is the future that we are arriving in. Ready or not, here they come. Like it or not, they are part of a generation that feels empowered; that feels they may not even “need” older adults to form their opinions or to fulfill their dreams. Often times they not only doubt the need of adults, but oppose whatever beliefs the adults in their lives hold. How can you be useful and influential in the lives of teens who feel they don't need you?
While these attributes are on the radar screen now, the students are still young, and change is always in the wind. For now, however, it might do us some good pay attention to these six common characteristics of Generation Z:
No matter the platform, teens are spending nearly all their time online. A recent survey showed 45% of teens said they are online almost constantly, while another 44% said they’re online several times a day. Only 11% said they were online less often. This constant screen time often times results in varied levels of cyber-bullying. Many teens will face cyber-bullying at some level in their lives, how can you help guide your children through these hard times?
Would you believe me if I told you that out of 393 teens who have gone through the "Last Mile" Juvenile Detention program, there is a ZERO percent recidivism rate (compared to the nearly 50% rate among other teens)? The program aimed at disciplining minors for their mistakes, and not punishing them has prepared them to not make the same mistakes twice. What is the difference between discipline and punishment and how can we instill this in our children?
For years now the church has been focusing on reaching Millennials. This is not a bad thing, as they are now the largest generation in the working force, but what about Generation Z? Generation Z, also known as iGeneration, Homeland Generation, Centennials, and Post-Millennials, is on pace to surpass my Millennial Generation in population very soon. So who is Generation Z and how do we reach them?
Today we announced that we are leaving Court Drive. It was the hardest day I have had the last 2 years. It is bittersweet, but rather than goodbye, maybe it is better to be viewed as a see you around. Writing this brings tears to my eyes, it is not easy by any means. But as a wise person told me the other day when we spoke, "because it is hard means it was good." I hope our 2 years together was as good for you in your walk with Christ and friendship with us as it has been for us.