Turning Postmodern Christian Teens into Multiplying Disciples, Part 3

“Gary, times are a-changin!” These are the words of my wife’s grandfather, spoken to me probably 20 years ago.

This statement has never been truer than in 2013. To help make this point, I want to turn to Josh McDowell and his book, “The Disconnected Generation.” Here, Josh created a list of terms and how they are defined by adults and by teens. Pay close attention to this list. “Folks, definitions of words are a-changin!”

Tolerance

Adult Understanding: Accepting others without agreeing with or sharing their beliefs or lifestyle choices.

Teen Understanding: Accepting that every individual’s beliefs, values, lifestyles and truth claims are equal.

Respect

Adult Understanding: Giving due consideration to others.

Teen Understanding: Wholeheartedly approving of other’s beliefs and lifestyle choices.

Acceptance

Adult Understanding: Embracing people for who they are, not necessarily for what they say and do.

Teen Understanding: Endorsing and even praising others for their beliefs and lifestyle choices.

Moral Judgments

Adult Understanding: Certain things are morally right and wrong, as determined by God.

Teen Understanding: We have no right to judge another person’s view or behavior.

Personal Preference

Adult Understanding: Preferences of color, food, clothing style, hobbies, etc. are personally determined.

Teen Understanding: Preferences of sexual behaviors, value systems and beliefs are personally determined.

Personal Rights

Adult Understanding: Everyone has the right to be treated justly under the law.

Teen Understanding: Everyone has the right to do what they believe is right for them.

Freedom

Adult Understanding: Being free to do what you ought to do.

Teen Understanding: Being free to do everything you want to do.

Truth

Adult Understanding: An absolute standard of right and wrong.

Teen Understanding: Whatever is right for you.

Some may be asking at this point, “Christian kids don’t think this way, do they?” Or, “Not my kids!”

First, let me say that no, not all Christian kids think this way. However, don’t assume they don’t until you present the list to them and talk about it. No matter what we do as parents and youth leaders – in this age of technology – we cannot shield our children from postmodern influences.

Along with technology is the pull of friends. Never underestimate your teen’s desire to be liked by his or her friends. I call this the “cool factor.” It is completely normal for teens to want to build relationships outside their families. This is why we, as parents and youth leaders, need to do what we can to make sure that our teens’ closest friends – their “inner circle” as we say at Reach America – are all Christians. And make sure these Christian friends have a biblical worldview!

In my next post, I will begin to explore how postmodernism has infiltrated the Christian teen world. And yes, I do have solutions and a strategy to turn postmodern Christian youth into multiplying disciples. I am doing my best to keep these posts to around 500 words.

Thanks for your comments. I always enjoy reading what God is saying to you!

Pastor Gary

2 thoughts on “Turning Postmodern Christian Teens into Multiplying Disciples, Part 3

  1. I agree with some of this post, but not all of it. I do have some questions though- why is sexuality listed under ‘preference’? I’m a young teen- very young indeed. I went to christian private school (where I was bulled by my peers and teachers until I had to leave for public schooling), but I have two mothers. One is lesbian, the other is bisexual. I myself identify as demisexual. I completely agree with the ‘adult preference’ part of the post, but the teen one is radical at best. Sexuality isn’t a choice- no way, no how. I don’t think that one of my best friends would want to go through severe depression because of his homosexuality, nor do I think my asexual friend wants to be asexual. She never gets to be in on the ‘oh he’s cute’ or the ‘I’d like to kiss her’ (though, if I don’t know them, I’m in the same boat) and that troubles her just as much as it troubles me sometimes. It’s not a choice, and I don’t think it ever will be. Of course, it is a choice for some (those who think it’s ‘cool’ or ‘hip’ to be part of the LBGT+ group but are really heterosexual) but for many, especially those who want to marry someone of the same sex, it is not a choice. It’s more like skin color- if you are African American, you can bleach all you want but you’re still part of an African American family with African American roots- you’re still African American is my point. If you are ‘gay’ – really gay, never liked a girl in your life- you can pretend, you can even marry a woman but you’re still gay.

    On to the second part of the ‘Teen Preference’ part of the post- value systems. I agree with that actually- you’re part of the law system, some things will be wrong all your life and some are simply right.

    The third part I half agree with- I’m reading this post as the ‘Teen’ things are wrong and the ‘Adult’ things are right, correct? Beliefs, however, I do think is a personal choice- one a bit more important than hair color but akin to something like a tattoo. It defines you, and no matter what people will judge you by it. Still, it’s your choice and it may be hard to get away from, but you can totally choose what religion you are.

    Some other odds and ends I don’t agree with- Moral Judgements. No, I do not think you have the right to judge people based on their views, but you totally have the ability and the right to based on their attitude/actions. If someone hits me or bullies me, calls me a name or even excludes me (as I was often excluded in my christian private school- from games on the playground all the way too ‘fun’ activities in the classroom by my teacher), I have every right to judge them based on that. If they think it’s morally wrong I have two moms- one up to them for sharing that with me and having the guts to get up and say that. If they hurt me because of it, shame on them.

    Also, ‘Tolerance’. I don’t really understand this one- I need clarification. For ‘Adult’ it says ‘Accepting w/o believing or sharing’ and for ‘Teen’ it says ‘ Accepting that every individual’s beliefs, values, lifestyles and truth claims are equal,’. I think a mesh of the two is appropriate- “Accept it, don’t share it, but think it equal. Because it is.’ It’s perfectly equal- even if I don’t share the view. Their viewpoints are not any more wrong than mine, nor any more right. It’s just a matter of what I accept to be true.

    Your thoughts?

  2. Hi N/A,

    First, I am very sorry you had a bad experience with the Christian school. We run a Christian program, and bullying is NOT tolerated.

    I like to have parental permission before I interact with young teens. I hope you can appreciate that.

    Get your folk’s permission and I would be glad to talk to you.

    Thanks,

    Pastor Gary

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