Joel 2:28 is the verse we usually hear in conversations about reaching kids—expressing how revival needs to come to the youth. It reads: “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions” (NIV).
We eagerly anticipate seeing that happen. Many people say, “Yes, I want my church to be part of God’s outpouring over the young generation.” And we should want that! But let me draw your attention to the lesser-quoted part of that verse, “Your old men will dream dreams.”
I used to overlook that phrase for the most part because I was so excited about young people getting fresh vision. However, that statement is about the older people—including most of you reading this—who dream dreams for the younger generation. It’s the older people in the church who must dream dreams and engage with and care about the younger generation.
They Didn’t Ask for This Garbage
When we consider the cultural barrage hammering our teens—whether it’s the things being sold to them or written to them, such as movies and music, or the point-and-click pornography that’s available 24/7—there is one thing we all can agree on: Our children aren’t the ones who invented these things!
Every social influence that is destroying kids, whether it stems from media entertainment, technological inventions or opportunities on the Web, was dreamed up by an older generation. In many ways old dreamers prey on young people. They understand that if they appeal to young people’s corrupt desires, they can get them to empty their pockets and purses.
As a result, teens absorb lyrics, values and lifestyles that completely destroy them. And they’re being told it’s fun!
You Must Be the Dreamer
Having a dream to rescue the young generation is not just an obligation; it’s also a privilege. God is at work and He wants to pour out His Spirit. He is waiting for someone to step up with a dream for our youth.
Even if you think you’re not cool enough to reach young people, let me tell you a secret: If you look at the executives that run MTV (you can pull them up online), you’ll see they look like any other executives. They’re the strategists, thinkers and smart ones—the ones plotting how they can get maximum influence on as many young people as possible.
We need to be the Christian counterparts to these secular teen strategists. We, as leaders, need to be the ones who rally around the younger generation and say, “We’re going to find out what they’re into and how to reach them.”
In the same way that MTV execs hire cool people to do their work on TV, we need to hire cool youth pastors and 20-something, college-age students to mentor our kids and implement the strategies we have helped design. Just like MTV hires people to discover new teen trends, our youth teams need to know how this generation thinks and how to communicate effectively with it.
It’s up to you to rally your church around the youth. Inherent in the job of leaders in the church is the obligation to pass the baton of the gospel to the next generation. Begin to see yourself as the chief strategist for ensuring the propagation of the gospel for future generations.
Ron Luce is the president and founder of Teen Mania Ministries. He passionately declares the gospel to teens worldwide through Acquire the Fire youth events, camps, broadcasts and more.
Available in various editions for youth pastors, teens and small groups, Ron Luce’s ReCreate series is a must-have action plan for any ministry bent on equipping young generations to transform their culture and change the world.
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