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Current Affairs illustrations youth ministry

Savior: The Adult Desire to Save Teenagers From Themselves

Photo by fengschwing via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Am I the only one who notices that adults seem to obsessed about teenage lives? More to the point, we seem obsessed with pointing out how we need to intervene before they destroy themselves and the human race.

Our culture takes a very negative view of people between the ages of 13-18. If you work with them, you are used to folks turning up their noses when you tell them you love working with that age group.

Here are some recent headlines to illustrate the point:

School: Little as they try, students can’t get a D here [New York Times] more articles…

Sleep: Lack of sleep linked to obesity for teen boys [Time Magazine] more articles…

Sex: Teenage girls rely on the rhythm method [What is the trend] more articles…

Crime: States rethink “adult time for adult crime” [CNN] more articles…

Forgive me if the links provided aren’t damning evidence. You are welcome to browse my entire body of hundreds of news articles on adolescence to get a better flavor. What I am talking about is not a hot pile of evidence. It is a slow burn of negative views on adolescents as well as adult desires to fix teenagers.

Another angle that demonstrates this is our wonderment over a teenager who does something good. Sail around the world? Shocking! Raise money for a worthy cause? News at 11! Start a successful business? Give her an award!

It seems that those news stories are of interest, in part, because we expect teenagers to only do negative/self-destructive things and when they do something amazing it must be newsworthy.

Three observations I want to point out on this topic

  1. Jesus is their savior, you aren’t.
  2. Have you ever wondered why sports are so popular with adolescents? Maybe it’s the easiest place for them to achieve and/or exceed expectations.
  3. Teenagers have about the same grades, sleep about the same, have the same amount of sex, and commit the same amount of crimes that they always have. Our obsessing over it only reveals something twisted in our lives and not theirs.
Categories
Church Leadership

Lessons from the bench

For the last two years I’ve been riding the pine at church. This time has taught me a lot about what it means to be in church leadership.

From age 16 until 31 I had always aspired to be an up front leader at church. I like being visible. I love speaking, teaching, and preaching. I truly enjoy the grind of regularly doing those things as my vocation.

Over the past two years I’ve gone from being the person everyone on our church campus knew to being a relative nobody. In athletic terms, I went from being a starter to being a player who sits the bench.

And just like in athletics, when you put a starter on the bench, the Coach always does it so the starter can learn.

Here are 5 things I’ve learned from riding the bench at church:

  1. Every attendee gets something different out of a Sunday morning, you can’t control the takeaway or topic one bit. I can’t believe I ever thought I could control that.
  2. The more a church offers the less people are involved in their community. Growing a church by doing less doesn’t make logical sense, but its 100% true.
  3. Never assume people know what a term is or who an author/speaker is that you reference. People in church leadership live in a different world, with different heroes, than the rest of the congregation.
  4. Visibly valuing people is really important. This manifests itself in a lot of different ways. But it demonstrates the church leaderships character in what they put up front.
  5. People in the pews care way more about the staff and their families than I ever imagined. It’s not creepy, it’s not some American idol worship, it’s actually quite sweet.

If you’ve gone from church staff to church attendee, what are some things you’ve learned through that process that could help people in church leadership?