The Teen Decade

We are about to enter the 'teen decade'. It happens every century.

If you want to understand a culture, you have to understand those who will dictate the contours of the days to come. What will this coming decade look like when it passes?  What will be said of those of us who lead in the youth culture? A new nationwide survey among teenagers, conducted by the Barna Research Group (Ventura, CA) reveals many exciting and encouraging changes that are likely to occur. 

But one shift that should trouble leaders in the Christian Church is the superficial relationship that most teens have with Christianity – and their plans to reduce their already minimal commitment to the Christian faith.

Three key measures of faith further reveal the true nature of the spirituality of teens.  Although four out of five say they are Christian, only one out of four (26%) also claims to be “absolutely committed to the Christian faith.” That is only about half the percentage found among adults – and a strong indicator of the flagging depth of loyalty Americans have in relation to its dominant faith group. What is most concerning about this report is that we are losing the leadership battle.

Over the past decade, what has taken place in our churches to produce such statistics? I know, I know, these are only statistics. And all of us know that statistics can be used however we want to use them. The question is still valid. The leadership question. It is the thermostat that sets the temperature of our teen culture. And there are some non-negotiables in the arena of youth leadership that we cannot dismiss. To lose another decade is not acceptable.

  "The teen decade we are about to move into can be formed by each of us who love this generation if we are willing to adjust our lives to a few key values."  

Over this winter and holiday break I am going to write on the characteristics of great youth leaders. Tune in if you can create the time. I hope you can become a close follower in this discussion the next few weeks.