Healthy Youth Leaders: Know the times

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One of the things I do is “watch people” in different contexts that what I normally live in. It has been interesting today to watch the interactions of college students to the 60+ year old cashier here at a taco bell in a college town in Ohio (about as different from my “normal” context as you can get).

I watch people and how they interact, to help me keep a pulse on culture. How they talk, dress, act, speak, can quickly escape us if we immerse yourself in the Christian “bubble”.

At a town hall meeting last night, a psychologist shared the following quote from Josh McDowell….

He continued, “Fifteen to 20 years ago, the questions that you used to hear at universities about faith, Jesus and the Bible, about skepticisms, questioning what you believe in; questions that you used to hear in the last two years of college are now being asked by 10- and 11-year-olds. It’s coming all right down through Facebook.”

During his message, he also told pastors they cannot pastor the same way they have been for the last 20 years while telling parents they cannot raise their children the same way they were raised because the Internet has changed “everything.”

“Twenty years ago, the phrase was, ‘if you don’t reach a young person by 18, you probably won’t reach them. Now, atheists and agnostics have the same access to your kids as you do, it’s just one click away. The internet has leveled the playing field and now if you don’t reach a child by their 12th birthday, you won’t reach them.”…

I have thought and said much of this over the last several years. This was the first time I have heard it voiced in quite that way.

We have to watch, listen, and adapt our methods to reach this generation, while never losing the unmistakable message of the Gospel.

We are better together.

In the comments below, share one way that you stay current with the culture we serve in….

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Brent Lacy

Youth Pastor. Web Designer. Homeschool Dad. Former Child Abuse Investigator. IT Technician. Writer. Lock-in Survivor. Rural Ministry Advocate. These all describe the experiences and stories that are part of Brent Lacy’s time in ministry. Brent grew up on 160 acres of corn, soybeans and cattle in Southern Illinois. He is currently a Rural Ministry Specialist with National Network of Youth Ministry (NNYM), based in Rockville, Indiana where he lives with his beautiful wife and three awesome kids in the Covered Bridge Capital of the World! His book "Rural Youth Ministry: Thrive Where You're Planted" is available at SimplyYouthMinistry.com and on the Kindle Store.

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