What Are Students Actually Hearing?
This week a good friend of mine who is youth pastor in San Diego, Brian Berry, posted a painfully thought-provoking article entitled “Sexuality and the Teens I Work With” (you can find the full article by clicking here). In his article, Brian shares the results from a recent survey he gave to students in his youth group. His findings are staggering:
1. Porn has tainted youth’s view of sexuality, and it’s not just young men that are watching.
2. Everything is relative to teens today, especially in terms of sexuality.
3. Girls are more sexually active than guys.
Check it out for yourself…but prepare for your heart to break.
As I read and reflected on his post, I began to ask myself, “Are students even listening? What do they hear when we share the gospel at Club and Campaigners?”
Or are we welcoming and ushering them to the feet of Jesus where those lies of what they’re defined by can be stripped away?
Allow me to switch gears for a second.
This year I was asked to be a part of a team that planned our “All State Arizona” Young Life club on April 8th. This was no small feat. We’re talking about 3000+ kids crammed into a stadium to experience a typical Young Life club on steroids! It took months to plan, several moving parts, hundreds of emails, and lots and lots of prayer. There was free pizza, a mechanical bull, crazy inflatables, a rockin’ band, silly skits, and ridiculous contraptions dropping leaders when their kids incorrectly answered a question. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a lot of fun. We provided all of that because we know it will wow and attract students from all over the state. We want students to leave saying, “I can’t believe they did that for me…tonight was awesome!”
But hear me when I say, if we stopped there we would have failed. Our goal isn’t to entertain kids…it’s to introduce them to Jesus.
Realistically though, with more than 3000 kids in attendance, how effective could a speaker be? Surely students are talking and checking their Instagram accounts the whole time!
And so I ask my aforementioned question again…are students even listening?
Sure there’s a purpose behind everything we do; the music unifies us and the students, the games allow for everyone to participate, and the skits provide humor to help break down the walls students have created. But the reason why I know students are listening, is because they all want to know where they fit in life, what they have to offer, and if Jesus really can fill the void in their life.
Watch the video for yourself…that night, you could have heard a pin drop. Even still…even the “churched kids,” though they may be listening, struggle to bridge the gap between knowledge and action.
So the ball is in your court and in mine. Are we going to stand idly by watching students struggle through their most formidable years? Or are we going to enter into their mess with them?
We need more help. We need more leaders. We need adults who will walk alongside a student and tell them, “you matter to me, and you matter to God.” Will you join us? I’m not going to lie and say that it’s easy. Reading Brian’s article is proof enough; when you enter into the lives of a junior high or high school student, your heart will break. However, I can promise you this, there is no greater calling that loving a student and watching Jesus transform their life!
Thank you for supporting us and enabling us to reach more kids in the East Valley. May God overflow in your life so that you can pour into others. If nothing else, join us for the All State Club next year…it will blow your mind!
Yours for the Kingdom,