"Rebelize" Your Youth Group
I have pondered the “specifics” over the past week, and I finally came to the following conclusion: Brett and I can’t tell specific individuals exactly what they’re supposed to do. That’s between you, your family, and God. We can, however, give you specific “generalities” for all types of roles.
In two previous entries, My iPod Is My Best Friend and A Shining Salty City On A Stand, I laid several foundational, but general, principles upon which to base a rebelution. The first was to recognize the importance of carefully choosing our companions, both human and non-human (books, magazines, television, blogs, etc…). The second was to accurately understand Christ’s commandment to be salt and light. In the comment section of the second post, an interesting discussion arose regarding the nature of a rebelution. Several comments stood out, beginning when Karen said:
My parents started homsechooling over a decade ago with the goal of being world-changers. They have had to come to terms with the fact that they probably won't see a total reformation of American culture in their lifetimes. They have played a part in what God is doing, but it has not been a very glamorous part. Their battle has been one of being disciplined and keeping the faith.Later on David added:
I believe the time is right for a reformation, and I want to take part in it more than I want just about anything else. But I have to have enough faith to remain disciplined and steady no matter what God has for me.
Too many people have lost the zeal for God's House that once marked the Church.While this was not the extent of the discussion, I would like to focus, in this post, on the need for a specific type of reformation. The big focus of A Shining Salty City On Stand was the necessity of both individuals and community. While I did not directly mention this in that post, what we were talking about was a perfect description of the Body of Christ, the Church. A body has many different parts, all of which have different strengths and weakness, different functions and responsibilities, but who work together to accomplish the purpose of the Head, Jesus Christ. This is also true of a rebelution, which is why our first step must be to awaken the church.
It’s flattering when the world admires your maturity and vision. It’s incredibly gratifying when people jokingly say, “Wow! Whoever’s taking the democratic presidential nomination in 2040, watch out!” The problem with this is that it places you into the category of a “statistical anomaly.” We must not be satisfied with simply being better than the average teenager. Such a classification reinforces, rather than combats, the myth of adolescence. As the old saying goes, “The exception only proves the rule.”
When we’re an individual exception, we stand out as an individual. The tendency is to get comfortable with being “one-of-a-kind.” We then fail to encourage others to reach their full potential, because we don’t want them to steal our limelight. Such an attitude goes directly against the heart of a rebelution and is detrimental to its cause.
We cannot be elitist. We must fight for humility. Even while we decry the state of our fellow youth, we must not condemn or separate ourselves from them. The heart of a rebelution is the truth that all young people have the ability to accomplish much greater things than our culture would have them to think. Because of that, we must be constant encouragers. As Jesus said, “Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.”
To be a rebelutionary, we must constantly strive to reduce the focus on ourselves as individuals, and to place the focus on the community of the Church. The only way to truly combat cultural expectations is to create a culture that results in an entire community of mature and responsible young people. To effect widespread change, we must produce such a communities in churches across the nation. Sadly, the average youth group in the U.S. today is falling incredibly short of this calling.
I challenge each of you to become a reformer among your church’s youth. Change the cultural expectations of young people in your local church. Create a local community that defies our culture’s expectations. The homeschool movement started with a vision to change the culture by reforming the home. The next step is to reform the church.
I want the comment section to be brainstorm central. Start by thinking about, and then pooling your answers, to the following preliminary questions:Please do not limit yourself to the above questions. Further questions and thoughts on the posts are encouraged. Soli Deo Gloria!
1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations?
2.) Who do you need collaborate with within your church in order to bring about change?
[Continue to The Rebelution, According to Joel.]