Tag Archives: Worldview

Characteristics of a Gen Z Youth Ministry

Had the privilege of attending and speaking at the Teen Leadership Conference at Clarks Summit University.  There I was part of a National Youth Ministries Conference that featured incredible speakers who spoke on ways to impact Generation Z for Christ.

Studying the different generations is fascinating to me, and it is important to understand the characteristics of each generation.  Especially since there most likely is 7 generations in your church on a given Sunday.  Seven!

Do you know the leadership style of the Generation Z?  What impact is social media having on this generation?  Mental health seems to be an issue, how do you help students who are struggling?  These are all issues we discussed in the seminar.

My job was to answer the question:  “What does a Generation Z Youth Ministry look like?”  Here’s a checklist to help you in your quest to reach this generation.  I encourage you to check it out, and feel free to add more in the comments.

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What is Technology Doing to Us?

OK, I can hear you from here. You’re thinking: “this is another guilt-me-into-putting-my-cell-phone-down blog. I’ve seen these a million times, and I feel guilty for a day and go without my cell phone. Then, the next day a new version of Candy Crush comes available for free, and I go bananas (pardon the pun)”

Bear with me, let’s start with an experiment. Next time you drive on the highway, take a look around. Count how many people are on their cell phones while driving. Maybe your highways are safer than mine, so take this experiment to the next restaurant you have dinner, and look to see who is actually having conversations with a non-electronic device. Take a stroll to the park, and watch parents push their kids on swings with one hand, and check their social media on their smartphone with the other.  Even when teenagers hang out, it’s commonplace for phones to be out and communication to be non-existent.social_media-Technology-Wallpapers

What’s my point?  Is the iPocolypse upon us.  Should we all try to build a Delorean with a flux capacitor to get us back 15 years.  Doc, slow down.  Before we get to some answers, let’s start with the bad news:

  1. Danger, Danger! You’ve all seen articles like this or this. There’s no doubt about it, with the overuse of technology, there comes developmental and social ramifications. Don’t ignore the warning signs of technology addiction. It’s real, and must be monitored in the future.
  2. FOMS. Anxiety is a growing problem for this generation. In fact, there is a term for the anxiety that occurs with a smartphone, it called Fear of Missing Something or FOMS. It may seem silly, but the statistics of this are staggering. Read here.
  3. So Much for Honor RollAnxiety is also growing inside the classroom.  While there are benefits of technology in the classroom, there are also some drawbacks. Not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, just presenting facts to consider.

The Good News:computer-kid

  1. Techie Faith. Teens are using their tablets for devotions and iPods for Bible reading. While I’m a big fan of feeling the Scripture pages with my fingers, technology can provide an avenue for Spiritual growth and discovery. (See Barna’s article)
  2. Millennials, Robots in Disguise? Can you say multitasking while chewing gum, patting your head, listening to your iPod, and skating…a typical Millennial can. The ability of this generation to process information quickly, multitask, and decipher technology is astounding (I caught my one year old texting the other day, not joking). This ability can be a huge advantage in their education, breadth of learning, and advancing our technology even further in the future.
  3. World-View. Whether it is learning of an earthquake in Central America within minutes of it happening, or finding out about persecution in the Far East…the worldview expansion of this generation has potential to be world-changing. Possibly by prayer, financial support, or leading causes, we are seeing more teenagers taking strides in making a difference in the world.

When it comes down to it, the key word here is BALANCE. When it comes to technology, don’t throw the cell phone out with the bath water. Technology provides educational tools, instant access to information, and globalization of communication. However, the overuse has seen the rise in anxiety amongst teens, increase in auto accidents, slow erosion of academic performance and decrease of quality family time. family-and-technologyWhere is the balance? Here’s some action points to help:

  1. Be Smart with your SmartPhone. Put the thing away when you are driving, riding a bike, or walking on a bridge.
  2. Set Limits. These could include, but not limited to: no cell phones at dinner, limit yourself to 1-2 games on your phone/tablet, must be put away when entering the house from work, and at a distance when on a date or playing with the kids. For kids & teens especially – no cell phones during homework/study and after designated bed time.
  3. Charging Station. Especially for teens that are suffering from sleep deprivation and sleep texting, take the temptation away. Design a charging station away from the bedrooms, and check the phones before your shower, not between 1am-5am.
  4. Security. Set up security and restrictions on devices. With teens averaging 6 devices, it’s no longer just computers that provide temptations. Parents, keep an eye on this, and set up software to protect. BUT DON’T STOP THERE! Have regular conversations about purity vs. pornography, online bullying, and proper technology behavior (i.e. sexting).
  5. Superheroes of Technology. In virtually every superhero movie, there’s a quote that or scene that depicts the phrase “use your powers for good not evil”. Encourage yourself and students to use this power of technology for good.   Help them find and pray for global causes, teach them to witness on social media, and show them Bible study tools online. The list is endless for positive things too.
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How to Teach Students to be World-Changers

Last week, I posted an article about doing something to help the world in need.  Well, how about creating an event dedicated to this very topic, of being “World-Changers” and helping those across the world, from poverty to persecution, from sex slavery to sweatshops, and from forced child labor to forced child military.

Here’s an idea that might work for your student ministry…create a World In Need Event or WIN event.  Get out your box cutter and open up this box, and inside you’ll find a kit to create this event.

Purpose

Allow your students to open their worldview from pin hole to wide view lens.  Not just in their sense and compassion of the world’s needs, but also compassion for the lost in far off countries, and faces and names to go with these issues.

Supplies

Over the course of the year, I collect articles & stories of poverty, persecution, and problems across the world.  My primary resource for these articles is Relevant Magazine, with the Reject Apathy project being a huge contributor.  Other resources could include national news publications such as Time Magazine.  Also, it may be a good idea to contact missionaries to see needs in their regions.

Dispatches from the Front DVD Series:  This may need to be edited in some parts, because there are some issues that are more adult.  However, this series is powerful to gain an inside look at other cultural issues, and provide a real view of these far places of persecution and unrest.

Finally, purchase Operation World.  No, seriously.  Put in your order right now, here.  This will provide a valuable research during the prayer time of the WIN event.  Did you buy it yet…do it!

Planning

Opener Video – Choose an opener video to introduce your event.  I’ve used these:  World Edition of How Great is Our God, First World Problems (this one is especially powerful), & Audio Adrenaline – Kings & Queens.

Main Bible Passage – Use a passage that depicts the compassion God urges us to have for those in need.  Click here for some examples.

Presentations – Choose several world regions you would like to focus on helping.  Dispatches from the Front provide numerous options of where there is persecution and needs.  You can use these DVD’s to introduce the region and needs.  Or you can use your research to provide areas of needs.

Presentations can be adult or student led.  I would suggest doing the adult or youth leader led projects with a leadership student assisting.  After doing this a year or two, move to student presentations.

Give the youth leader or student a packet with the research you have compiled over the year.  Provide the location and problem/issue.  Inside the packet, provide a cover sheet of what the presentation should include.  For example:  Project Assignment, Title for Presentation, Bible Verse or Main Passage – Short devotional & How verse relates to topic/presentation, Presentation of World Issue – Present the Problems, Give statistics, Provide visuals – pictures, videos, Provide Solution – What can the audience do?  How can we help?, Close in Prayer

Preparation – Allow for several weeks and half your youth group time for students to collect their data and work on their presentations.  With youth leaders, you will want to provide the material 1-2 months in advance to give them enough time to prepare their presentations.  Choose a month where you can present the idea of helping others or loving others, and take time each week to pray for needs and problems in the world using your Operation World book that you just purchased earlier =)

WIN Event

Travel the World.  Make it special.  Have your leaders dress up as flight attendants and have students “fly” to their location for the presentations.  Use your worship center or gym to provide space between presentations, or use separate rooms.

Provide tools.  Allow each group to have access to internet and computer.  This will allow them to show Power Point and/or videos to enhance their presentations.

Be Creative.  Have each group bring in a cuisine or appetizer from their region.  Bring in a missionary speaker from that region as your main speaker.  Find someone who was originally from that culture who can speak from experience.

world-changers

Summation:  This WIN (World in Need) Event can provide an eye-opening experience for your students.  Did they know about the epidemic of sexual slavery?  Do your students realize the devastation of AIDS in Africa?  Do they understand how good they have it with clean, hot water whenever they want it?  Or most of all, how much do they take for granted their Bible in their hands and their freedom to worship, where many die for those two things?  It’s time we take some time and wake up our young people to the needs of this world…and allow them do to something about it!

 

 

 

 

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All Roads Do Not Lead to Heaven…

We have a problem here people.  John 14:6 does not say, “There are many ways, many truths, and many lives”…it actually says there is only “ONE way, ONE truth, and ONE life”, and that is Jesus Christ.  So why is it that in a survey done by Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life: 57 percent of evangelical church attenders said they believe many religions can lead to eternal life.  Yikes!  To find out more how our the strength of Christianity is declining and tolerance is increasing, go here.

But you know this is an issue…so how do we stop this thinking?  Here are five reasons a student or you can use to combat the notion that all roads lead to heaven.  Feel free to use them to help promote a proper Biblical and Christian worldview in your young people.  It’s becoming a lost art…but it can be found.

5 Reasons Why There is Only One Way to Heaven (besides because the Bible says):

  1. Okay, it’s like if one person says dog + cat = dog.  Another person says dog + hippo = dog.  Sorry, it is dog + dog = dog.  You can’t take 2 different components and hope to get the same answer…and you can’t hope two completely different beliefs/religions can get the same result!
  2. Most religions had their origin later in history…if that is truth than what happened to those in history before their religion?  Christianity begins @ creation, most religions can’t claim that.
  3. Most religions require you to do something to get to heaven…what happens if you don’t do enough?  Christianity is all about what Christ did, more on that later.
  4. Most religions have a leader that is no longer living…Christianity has a Savior that rose from the dead.
  5. If there is more than one way to heaven…then why did Jesus have to die!

Feel free to add, critique, or discuss.  Let’s help our next generation understand there is only one way…it could be a matter of life or death!

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