The Youth of Today are Ready – Today!

By Jacob Howard, Teen Editor

It has been said that when Martin Luther King Jr. saw the youth gather at his rallies, he knew he had won the fight for civil rights.

Youth are a powerful weapon. But, we are a weapon many people think is to be used in the future. Youth are often called the “future of the world”. Truth is, the youth of today, are ready and excited for – today.

Why should the Christian youth be labeled for the future? If the youth are trained up well, they should be in the battle right now!

Look at the secular youth; those not saved. They are so into the battle against God that almost everything revolves around them. Music, television, movies, etc. Very few forms of media are made today that are not for teens.

Think about the influence the unsaved youth are having on the world. What would change if Christian youth really got out there and starting fighting?

Would forms of media change? In the next few months, some high-budget movies will be coming out with famous actors and such based off Biblical events, for both Noah and Moses. You can guarantee that these movies are going to be geared toward capturing teen’s attention.

What will these movies teach? The producers are saying they stuck with the Biblical accounts, but what will really be taught? I sincerely hope the truth will be shown, but I do not know.

My point is: even Hollywood “based off Biblical events” movies are being geared toward the unsaved youth of today. Where are the Christian youth? Are they in the future, or ready to be deployed today?

If they are deployed today, then forms of media will change. America will change if we take up the fight! Let’s go!

 

Turning Postmodern Christian Teens into Multiplying Disciples, Part 5

Have you ever considered this?

Jesus was the greatest cultural impact strategist who ever lived.

Jesus started a movement that not only impacted the world in His time; the movement He started is still impacting the world 2,000 years after His death! American-style, Christian training has ignored the power of His methodology. Instead of following His training methods, we have designed our discipleship training after the American education system. We cherish His words and life, but often we find our goal to touch and change the lives of people unmet.

Could it be that the way Jesus trained His disciples was just as important as what He taught them? A scripture that is classically used to wrap up our purpose on earth is Matthew 28:18-20. Basically, the command Jesus left us was “go, make disciples.” In our exegesis of the word “make” I believe that it is correct to assume that method is implied as much as message in the command to “make disciples.”

Jesus did more than lay the groundwork for what we teach; Jesus set the example. Through the way He trained His disciples, He modeled the method for “making disciples.”

A phrase Jesus often used to illustrate how disciples are made is “follow me.” The first time we find Jesus using “follow me” to explain His method for making disciples is recorded in all four Gospels (Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:2-11; John 1:35-42) Through the use of “follow me,” Jesus also revealed the goal of those who would become His disciples. He stated that, “I will make you fishers of men.”

When formulating His training strategy, Jesus did not under-estimate the pull of the culture. He knew that it was important for His guys to be taught by Him as they followed Him around. Imagine Jesus saying to Simon, “I want to invite you to come and listen to me teach/preach for two hours a week.”

The context in which we are taught and from whom are just as important as what we are taught.

Let’s move forward and consider our teen’s current cultural situation. Due to the invasion of technology into our kid’s lives, they are barraged with information that significantly influences them. Secondly, as youth get older, they desire to please their friends over their parents. Third, and most certainly not last, is every teen’s struggle with their sinful flesh.

Do we really believe we can “make disciples” out of postmodern Christian teens in an hour or two a week? Jesus didn’t even try that!

Although Jesus lived in different times with different issues, He faced the same problems we face. Simon and the gang were living in a world heavily influenced by thousands of years of Judaism and modern Roman influence. Jesus had to also deal with the disciples sin issues; their struggles with their flesh.

When He considered these cultural influences and their need to overcome and tame the flesh, Jesus knew His goal to turn these guys into fishers of men would not be realized with a daily or weekly visit in their living room. Nor would it happen in a weekend retreat or a ten-week study. These guys had to get it not just agree with Jesus.

Initially, turning postmodern, Christian teens into multiplying disciples doesn’t happen in the context of visitation, while they live in the world. Training these young people must happen in the context of a Christ-centered environment. This must be included in our strategy if we are to be successful in turning Christian teens into multiplying disciples.

Jesus never completely removed His disciples from the world; He invited them to leave what they knew in order to be taught by Him. He required that they live with Him so that they would see the way He lived. Through His teaching they learned about Jesus and His mission. Through living with Him they experienced Jesus on a level they would need to accomplish His mission once He was gone from the earth.

In order for these men to fully know and understand that Jesus really is the truth, the way, and the life; they would have to walk with Him, daily.

Next Post: Step one in turning postmodern Christian teens into multiplying disciples is to create a C-4 Community – a Christ-Centered, Counter-Culture.

Please stay with me, we are just getting started.

Thank you for your patience as I write these short posts. If you are interested in deeper conversation, please feel free to email me, Gary Brown, at gary@letsreachamerica.org.

 

Turning Postmodern Christian Teens into Multiplying Disciples

1 Chronicles 12:32 “men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do–200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command;”

As Christian parents and youth leaders, it is crucial that we understand the times and know what the church should do in America. One observation I have made is that the current American culture has moved far away from God and has taken Christian youth right along with it.

Too often, when we think of “the culture,” we think of people outside the church. Truth be told, the culture has invaded the church, especially our teens and children. I have come to believe that before we can adequately reach out and impact the culture out there, we must reach in and change the culture in here – inside our youth ministries.

We always hear of the “godless” culture in America, but we rarely take the time to define what we mean. Philosophers, sociologists and other cultural gurus seem to agree that in America we are living in a postmodern world.  From what I have been reading and witnessing first-hand, I agree.

Well, what does it mean when we say “postmodern?” How has postmodern thought influenced our Christian youth? How do we reach teens for Christ in this postmodern age? And most importantly, how do we turn postmodern Christian teens into multiplying disciples?

Over the next few days I am going to write a series of blog posts on how to turn postmodern Christian teens into multiplying disciples. I hope you find it helpful.

Join our First Training Group!

We are looking for our first 12 teens and 12 parents to join us in our first study group!

As you may know, our new curriculum. “Becoming a Gold Star Leader” is here. In a recent blog, I wrote that we need 1,000 teens and 1,000 parents and adult teen leaders – all well trained and strategically placed – in order to impact the current generation ages 10-19. Click here to read the blog post.

While in prayer the other day, I believe God led me to find our first 12 teens and 12 adults to go through the 10-week curriculum. I am going to begin a local group of adults, here, in north Idaho in January.

At our north Idaho location, our teens just completed week #2. It is going very well.

I will communicate with teens and adults across America by phone, email and our Facebook group for adults. The teens have a Facebook page where I will communicate with them.

You may choose to go through the study as an individual and participate in discussion over the phone and internet, or you may join together with a friend or small group.

Thank you for your consideration. Please feel free to email me at gary@letsreachamerica.org or call me at 208-660-1727 if you are interested in joining this process.

IMPORTANT BLOG ANNOUNCEMENT: Be watching your inbox for an exciting announcement concerning this blog! I am in the process of meeting with a group of teens who will begin posting here. If you know of any Christian teen who would like to be a part of our blogging team, please let me know. This new format will be premiering very soon.

God bless you and I look forward to hearing from you!

Pastor Gary Brown

We are Looking for Team Members: Wanna Change America?

Getting Focused Can be Tough These Days

Hebrews 12:2 encourages us to “fix our eyes on Jesus.” Unfortunately, many Christians have come to believe that this is all we should do. You know, go off somewhere and just spend time reading our Bibles or in meditation or in worship.

Do not get me wrong, I love going off by myself with the Lord for extended periods of time — extending into days!

But let’s be careful that we don’t get what I call “Transfigure-itis.” This is when we caught up into the fallacy that worship is all we are called to do on this earth.

In Matthew 17, we read that Jesus took Peter, James and John up a high mountain for a spiritual retreat to end all spiritual retreats. Elijah, Moses and God, Himself, showed up!

Peter wanted to build three altars and camp out! But, alas, time eventually came for the men to come down from the mountain top of spiritual bliss into the valley of heartache and sorrow.

Immediately, Jesus was met by the father of a demon possessed boy. The disciples who were left behind could not heal the boy. After giving His apprentices a little lecture on faith, Jesus healed the young man.

What are the spiritual lessons, here?

1. Get to the mountain and focus on Jesus!
2. Get off the mountain, into the valley and focus on Jesus’ mission!

We, at Reach America, believe that God has called us into the valley of service to those in our community and in our country. We believe God has called us to take His message of forgiveness and salvation to a lost and dying nation.

God has called us to influence the next generation for Christ. He has given us a strategy and a tool to help accomplish this goal.

Will you consider joining our team?

We are looking for people who will focus on Jesus and will become engaged in His mission. Want to know what you can do to help? Click on the link below and contact us. We would love to hear from you!

Reaching the Next Generation: Breaking Down the Numbers

At Reach America, we are reaching and equipping the next generation of great American Christian leaders. We believe God can bring America back through us. If this goal is to be realized, we must raise up our Christian youth to be generational leaders. When we say Christian teens must be prepared to lead their generation, who represents their generation? How many leaders do we need? How do we get to that number?

Let’s break down the numbers.

42,717,537

According to the US Census Bureau, this is the number of American children and teens, ages 10-19. This number represents the generation of Americans these young leaders are called to lead. As you can see, the task is enormous, but not impossible.

We have chosen the group ages 10-19 because they are still developing their worldview. Young people are exposed to tremendous amounts of information. By the time teens reach high school, many have their worldview in intact.

Without a doubt, 42.7 million is a huge number, but it is not necessary to reach all 42.7 million to impact this generation. When we break down these numbers further we get a clear picture of the strategies necessary to make our young Christian leaders successful.

45, 50 plus 1

According to www.civicyouth.com, 45% of Americans, ages 18-29, voted in the last presidential election. (FYI: 60% of those 18-29 years old voted for Barack Obama. 37% voted for Mitt Romney.) In only eight short years, the entire generation, ages 10-19, will be eligible to vote. Amazing, isn’t it. They grow up so fast!

Let’s play with the numbers. Using the voting stats for the youngest voting group (18-29) as a guide, 45% of this generation of 42,717,537 is 19,222,891. In an election, 50% plus one vote is needed to win, or 9,611,446 votes. Let me emphasis that this analysis is NOT about politics! I am breaking down election stats to show how many of those in this generation we need to impact to influence the nation.

Voting trends tell us a lot about how we impact generational/cultural change. Those who will turn out to vote are those who are making the most effort to make their voices heard. Also, those who vote make up the segment of the population who are involved in the community. If you impact that group, you have the best chance of impacting the generation.

So far, we have reduced the number of people we need to influence the next generation from 42.7 million to 9.6 million. In essence, we have cut our number down by 50%, twice. Let’s continue.

10,000

At Reach America, we teach that leadership is influence. According to John C. Maxwell, a leading expert in leadership research and training, “Even the shiest introvert will influence 10,000 people over the course of his or her lifetime.” My question for these young leaders is, how many can they influence if they were intentional about it?

1,000

9.6 million divided by 10,000 is 960. Let’s assume some leaders are going to be less effective than needed and round the number up to 1,000. We need 1,000 well trained and strategically placed young leaders to influence the 42.7 million people in their generation, ages 10-19.

Will you join me in prayer for these young people? Will you pray daily for the entire generation and for those whom God is calling to lead them? Pray Matthew 9:38 with me. “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Will you also pray for me us, at Reach America? At the time of this writing, we are in the final stages of publishing our first 10-week course designed to train these young leaders. It is the first of eight courses designed for high school leaders.

Also, we request your prayers as we prepare for our conference in Branson, Missouri, September 13-15. The organizers are expecting 100,000 people to attend the three-day event.

God bless you all!

Can America Turn it Around? – Three Generations

Several years ago I was studying the Biblical account of Moses as he led the children of Israel out of Egypt.  Concerning America’s potential recovery, God opened my eyes to the possibility of an effort that could take generations to be realized.

Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt, but was not allowed to go into the Promised Land.  A good bit of the book of Deuteronomy is dedicated to Moses as he prepared Joshua to enter the land.

This reminds me of the humble beginnings of the movement to make America a socialist nation.  It was in 1905 when Upton Sinclair met with a handful of socialist radicals in New York City to launch the ISS, the Intercollegiate Socialist Society.

These men knew that America would not be won overnight.  Most realized they would not live to see the realization of their goal.  It turns out their gut instincts were correct.  At this writing it has been 108 years since the inaugural meeting of the ISS.  Although their ultimate goal of a socialist America has not been fully realized, I believe we can consider their efforts very successful.

We in America would do well to understand that America is a big ship.  The bigger the ship, the longer it takes to make a turn.  I believe it will take three to five generations to fully see a complete reversal of our current direction.

From my experience I believe there are currently three generations in America: Moses, Joshua and the Children of Promise.

Moses is the generation ages 25 and up.  I am in the Moses generation.  I do not believe I will see America enter the Promised Land, which is a complete return to Christ and our Judeo-Christian values.

This prediction does not depress me at all.  It is not a doom and gloom prediction for us old fogies!  Embracing this realization helps define the purpose of our lives and our goals.

My generation has a major role to play in bringing America back to Christ.  As a matter of fact, without us, a comeback is not even possible.

As the Moses generation, our role in this effort is that of “Provider.”  We have resources.

First, we have life experience and wisdom.  We have lived long enough to know how far America has fallen.  It was our fathers and grandfathers who fought in WWII.  We have witnessed America at her greatest and at her decline.

The generation, ages 25 and under, does not have the historical educational foundation or life experience, thus the perspective, to put into context the horrific damage big government, secularism and moral relativism have inflicted on our nation.  American exceptionalism, as we have known it, has not been the experience of younger Americans.

As the Moses generation, if we do not pass our American Judeo-Christian values down to our youth, the America we know will go to the grave with us. 

Secondly, we have money.  Folks, there is no other way to say it.  God has blessed us with the means to fund the launching of this movement.  I know the last five or so years haven’t been kind to our wallets, but this fact remains; there are a lot of baby boomers.  If each of us will contribute what we can we will have more than enough funds to finance this movement.

Remember, the principle isn’t equal giving, but equal sacrifice.

The second generation is “Joshua.”  Joshua is the generation, ages 13-25.  Moses will “Provide” and Joshua will “Possess!”  This generation might actually make the initial “crossing” into the land.

Remember Joshua and Caleb?  When the majority of the spies said we can’t take the land because,” there are giants over there”, Joshua and Caleb stood up and bucked the majority.  I am discovering teens across America who are excited that someone older is placing faith in them.

I am discovering that these young people love Jesus, their peers and this country.  Given the resources and the training, this young generation will begin a movement unlike any we have ever witnessed!

The third generation I call “The Children of Promise.”  This generation is comprised of those newborn through 12 years old.  If Moses will “Provide,” Joshua will “Possess,” the Children of Promise will “establish.”  Today’s little ones may one day witness our nation return to Almighty God.

Moses, the time is now to reclaim America by strategically and intentionally passing down our American, Judeo-Christian values to our nation’s youth.  Together, let’s reach and equip the next generation of great American Christian leaders!

 

Can America Turn it Around? If So, How and How Long Will it Take?

Many Christians believe we are in the last days.  I agree.  With that said, the fact that Christ could return any day doesn’t mean Christians should run for the hills!  Jesus made it clear that we are to be salt and light.  As believers, we can’t let our view of eschatology and the latest interpretation of world events discourage us from taking Christ’s love and truth into the public square with the goal of turning America around.

I am fully confident that God has a plan for bringing together all things on earth, but God didn’t put me on the “planning committee.”  For all we know, the coming of Christ may be thousands of years away.

God did put me on the “preparation committee.”  I believe America needs us.  Now more than ever, our country needs Godly people to get educated, networked and engaged in the culture.

God’s call in my life to engage the culture, to stand for righteousness, came in the form of a phone call.

In 1990, I received a call from our local elementary school principle to serve on the “sex education review committee.” Many on the committee wanted to hand out condoms to children as young as fourth grade. I had to make a choice.  Do I ignore the call to confront the culture or do I go to war?  I almost chose not to get involved.  I wrestled with my theology, my role as a pastor and the role of the church.

I chose to get involved and my life has never been the same.

Once I became engaged in the issues I almost quit a dozen times.  Each time I came close to hanging up my culture warrior helmet that still, small voice said “no.”  Now I can confidently say I have never regretted “staying the course.”

Not only did we keep the condoms out of most the schools, I ended up teaching the “sex education” section to over 8,000 teens and my life was changed forever. (I am going to, soon, tell my whole story.)

Folks, we need to stand tall! Christians, we need to get educated, networked and engaged.

I want to conclude this first blog post with three questions I am often asked. And one I am never asked, but needs to be addressed.

First, “What if we do all we can and America doesn’t turn to God?”  This is not my responsibility.  God has never asked me to be responsible for the results.  All God has called you and me to do is to be faithful.

Together, let’s submit to Christ, doing our best to follow His will.  Then, let’s leave the results to God.

Another question I hear is, “If America is going to turn around, how long will it take?”

I do not believe this question can be answered in terms of days, weeks, months, years or decades.  I believe this question can only be answered in terms of generations.

The third question is, “If God brings America back to Himself, how it is going to happen?

The question never asked? “What is this effort going to cost us?”

I will address the last two questions in the next post.