The recent tragedies involving youth at schools across the country have only heightened our concerns about raising kids in today’s cyber society. A local TV station in Columbia, SC (WLTX) recently conducted a survey among teens and found most youth are addicted to their phones. They live in a world of instant communication and pressure. Most of them don’t comprehend that a life can be destroyed by the tap of a button.
The church must be the place of safety in our hostile world. Youth today become socially interactive and connected far quicker and deeper than their parents did at the same age. It creates a peer dependency that must be countered by factors parents and church must offer together. Gather together some Christian parents and ask them these questions:
- Is our youth group a place of positive peer pressure? Yes, I used the word “pressure” intentionally. The world is always pressuring our youth to break the rules, to taste any forbidden fruit, and follow the wrong role models. There has to be a place where our youth are pushed towards the light and challenged to make the right choices.
- Are our youth leaders trained and up-to-date on what’s happening in our society, and how to apply biblical principles to the issues? Too many of our churches are operating as if it’s 1970 and not 2017. Regular training of staff and volunteers is key!
- Does the youth calendar take into consideration the schedules and concerns of youth and their parents? Many churches fall into one of two traps today. We fill up their time with endless activity with no goals for spiritual development, or we say they are so busy with other things that we leave all the fellowship and influence to outsiders. Careful planning of activities, retreats, and missions should provide the safe places for fellowship and growth that every young adult needs.
- Do parents of youth have a place of support? We started a support group called “POTS,” which stands for “Parents of Teens.” It provides a place of mutual prayer and encouragement for parents dealing with the same issues. Not only does it provide a network through which to encourage parents, but it has become a catalyst group for youth ministry ideas. POTS could connect with their pastors and work together to create successful youth fellowship.
We are reminded in scripture to, “,,Watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25, CSB).