Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Window into Teens

I was intriqued with one of Barna's latest surveys about teenagers.

The results told us that teens look up to those that they know: they are very interested in having older generations invest in them. (Good thing I re-read this, I had written "old generations".....)

2 out of 3 teens want to get ahead in the world, to accomplish goals and to overcome obstacles

However, spirituality has a VERY low priority in their life. They have a broadening mindset that is heavily influenced by the media.

So, my question is, as people that want to see the whole body of Christ represented, how are we to take these findings and seek to be present in teens lives?

It starts with relationship. We don't have to be "witnessing" to them, or even setting up cool programs in a church, it means if we open our lives to them, we can make a difference in their lives in a dramatic way.

One story I know is powerful. A woman in my huddle has invited a teenage girl to go to Tent City with her. The girl loves to go and is inviting many of her friends to come along, but what she doesn't do is invite them to come to the preparation for Tent City.

See, the woman and the teenage girl prepare for Tent City by cooking together. They spend the afternoon making the food that they will bring. It's during this "task" that the real converation begins to open up, and the teen is slowly revealing the struggles of her life.

Last week, a breakthrough came. She asked the woman to teach her cook, intentionally. She initiated friendship and asked for mentoring. I believe that the teenager girl is seeking way more than cooking lessons. She is asking for the woman to show her what a healthy life looks like, how to live that out in family, in vocation, in serving others, and how to live out the faith that she sees clearly in the woman's life.

So, I guess my question, is which part of the outreach to Tent City is more important? Is it the act of taking food to the residents or is it the intentionaly relationship that is taking place between a regular woman and a desirous teenage girl?

Look around. Who are the teens in your life? If you don't know any, get to know some. Find a small way to initiate contact and see what comes from that!

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