God's Sociologists

Another blog in my Teen Decade series. God's Sociologists.

As we move closer to the beginning of the coming teen decade, I am challenging youth leaders everywhere with this blog series. Please take a look at the previous posts on this subject and get acquainted with the objectives. Basically, I have been posting about leadership traits and ideas to shape the young people of our nation during the coming 7 years of 2013-2019.

Here is another thought on youth characteristics. The young people that we work with deserve our willingness to stay current with the world they live in.

There are so many buzz words today that scream for currency. Whether you are seeing pop-ups on your smartphone for 'updates', reading a new book on church growth with the words 'emerging' or 'missional' or 'post-Christian' in it, or whether you are referring to an article or magazine that is listing new trends in fashion, we all are encouraged to stay on the cutting edge. Maybe your kids or your students or a best friend has said to you recently, 'get with it', implying that you are behind the times. What can you do to get caught up?

Here are several things I do on a regular basis to help me relate to young people:

  • Listen to secular radio stations and see what they are listening to ( I will do this several times a month, as well as check out the changing "Top 25" songs for the week)
  • Observe pop TV shows, magazines, and news sources (you should watch, listen, or read monthly E! news, Yahoo, and Time or USA Today)
  • Notice the advertising and marketing trends on billboards, online, in magazines, or on TV
  • Listen to the conversations of teens around you
  • Ask a teen you are in relationship with to catch you up on the language and thought of their peers
  • Get involved with a small group, para-church, or youth group and observe the language and lifestyle (For me, because I am teaching at a Christian University, I have to be pro-active to stay involved with teens. So, I am leading an FCA group at a local high school and coaching an AAU basketball team in the Twin Cities. Both of these opportunities get me around young people of various faith and commitment)
  • I am always observing teens around me at church, in the mall, at a game, or with my kids friends
These kind of intentional ideas will help you measure the world young people live in. What you do with this information and observation will be important.One of the most inspiring tribes in the nation of Israel was the tribe of Issachar.

In 1 Chronicles 12.32 it says of the tribe of Issachar that they were "men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their kinsmen were at their command."

God's sociologists. That is exactly what we should be modeling to our generation. Spiritual leaders who understand the times and know what to do about it. And, involve others who are around us to do the same thing.