Keys to Making Your Kids Apathetic About Faith

istock_000006609821xsmallThe church in America is puzzled. Young adults are leaving in droves. Magazines, books and blogs are wagging the finger of blame to point out who is responsible. Some say it is a failure of youth ministry, some point to church budgets and some nail the blame on outdated, unhip worship services. We parents are shocked that our kids just really aren’t all that into Jesus.

When I look for someone to blame I head into the restroom and look into a mirror. Yupp, there he is. I blame him. That parent looking back at me is where I have to start.

If you’re a parent, I’m might tick you off in this post. But, hear me out. I think that we, as parents are guilty of some things that make it easy for our kids to put faith low on their priority list. [Click the title below to read the article.]

Keys to Making Your Kids Apathetic About Faith



Beloit Mindset List (Class of 2016)

From Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2016What would you add? The Mindset List for the Class of 2016For this generation of entering college students, born in 1994, Kurt Cobain, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon and John Wayne Gacy have always been dead.

  1. They should keep their eyes open for Justin Bieber or Dakota Fanning at freshman orientation.
  2. They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic narcotics.”
  3. The Biblical sources of terms such as “Forbidden Fruit,” “The writing on the wall,” “Good Samaritan,” and “The Promised Land” are unknown to most of them.
  4. Michael Jackson’s family, not the Kennedys, constitutes “American Royalty.”
  5. If they miss The Daily Show, they can always get their news on YouTube.
  6. Their lives have been measured in the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes, and bauds.
  7. Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker’s long-suffering father-in-law, not as Vito Corleone or Jimmy Conway.
  8. Bill Clinton is a senior statesman of whose presidency they have little knowledge.
  9. They have never seen an airplane “ticket.”
  10. On TV and in films, the ditzy dumb blonde female generally has been replaced by a couple of Dumb and Dumber males.
  11. The paradox “too big to fail” has been, for their generation, what “we had to destroy the village in order to save it” was for their grandparents’.
  12. For most of their lives, maintaining relations between the U.S. and the rest of the world has been a woman’s job in the State Department.
  13. They can’t picture people actually carrying luggage through airports rather than rolling it.
  14. There has always been football in Jacksonville but never in Los Angeles.
  15. Having grown up with MP3s and iPods, they never listen to music on the car radio and really have no use for radio at all.
  16. Since they’ve been born, the United States has measured progress by a 2 percent jump in unemployment and a 16 cent rise in the price of a first class postage stamp.
  17. Benjamin Braddock, having given up both a career in plastics and a relationship with Mrs. Robinson, could be their grandfather.
  18. Their folks have never gazed with pride on a new set of bound encyclopedias on the bookshelf.
  19. The Green Bay Packers have always celebrated with the Lambeau Leap.
  20. Exposed bra straps have always been a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction to be corrected quietly by well-meaning friends.
  21. A significant percentage of them will enter college already displaying some hearing loss.
  22. The Real World has always stopped being polite and started getting real on MTV.
  23. Women have always piloted war planes and space shuttles.
  24. White House security has never felt it necessary to wear rubber gloves when gay groups have visited.
  25. They have lived in an era of instant stardom and self-proclaimed celebrities, famous for being famous.
  26. Having made the acquaintance of Furby at an early age, they have expected their toy friends to do ever more unpredictable things.
  27. Outdated icons with images of floppy discs for “save,” a telephone for “phone,” and a snail mail envelope for “mail” have oddly decorated their tablets and smart phone screens.
  28. Star Wars has always been just a film, not a defense strategy.
  29. They have had to incessantly remind their parents not to refer to their CDs and DVDs as “tapes.”
  30. There have always been blue M&Ms, but no tan ones.’
  31. Along with online viewbooks, parents have always been able to check the crime stats for the colleges their kids have selected.
  32. Newt Gingrich has always been a key figure in politics, trying to change the way America thinks about everything.
  33. They have come to political consciousness during a time of increasing doubts about America’s future.
  34. Billy Graham is as familiar to them as Otto Graham was to their parents.
  35. Probably the most tribal generation in history, they despise being separated from contact with their similar-aged friends.
  36. Stephen Breyer has always been an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
  37. Martin Lawrence has always been banned from hosting Saturday Night Live.
  38. Slavery has always been unconstitutional in Mississippi, and Southern Baptists have always been apologizing for supporting it in the first place.
  39. The Metropolitan Opera House in New York has always translated operas on seatback screens.
  40. A bit of the late Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, has always existed in space.
  41. Good music programmers are rock stars to the women of this generation, just as guitar players were for their mothers.
  42. Gene therapy has always been an available treatment.
  43. They were too young to enjoy the 1994 World Series, but then no one else got to enjoy it either.
  44. The folks have always been able to grab an Aleve when the kids started giving them a migraine.
  45. While the iconic TV series for their older siblings was the sci-fi show Lost, for them it’sBreaking Bad, a gritty crime story motivated by desperate economic circumstances.
  46. Simba has always had trouble waiting to be King.
  47. Before they purchase an assigned textbook, they will investigate whether it is available for rent or purchase as an e-book.
  48. They grew up, somehow, without the benefits of Romper Room.
  49. There has always been a World Trade Organization.
  50. L.L. Bean hunting shoes have always been known as just plain Bean Boots.
  51. They have always been able to see Starz on Direct TV.
  52. Ice skating competitions have always been jumping matches.
  53. There has always been a Santa Clause.
  54. NBC has never shown A Wonderful Life more than twice during the holidays.
  55. Mr. Burns has replaced J.R.Ewing as the most shot-at man on American television.
  56. They have always enjoyed school and summer camp memories with a digital yearbook.
  57. Herr Schindler has always had a List; Mr. Spielberg has always had an Oscar.
  58. Selena’s fans have always been in mourning.
  59. They know many established film stars by their voices on computer-animated blockbusters.
  60. History has always had its own channel.
  61. Thousands have always been gathering for “million-man” demonstrations in Washington, D.C.
  62. Television and film dramas have always risked being pulled because the story line was too close to the headlines from which they were ”ripped.”
  63. TheTwilight Zone involves vampires, not Rod Serling.
  64. Robert Osborne has always been introducing Hollywood history on TCM.
  65. Little Caesar has always been proclaiming “Pizza Pizza.”
  66. They have no recollection of when Arianna Huffington was a conservative.
  67. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has always been officially recognized with clinical guidelines.
  68. They watch television everywhere but on a television.
  69. Pulp Fiction’s meal of a “Royale with Cheese” and an “Amos and Andy milkshake” has little or no resonance with them.
  70. Point-and-shoot cameras are soooooo last millennium.
  71. Despite being preferred urban gathering places, two-thirds of the independent bookstores in the United States have closed for good during their lifetimes.
  72. Astronauts have always spent well over a year in a single space flight.
  73. Lou Gehrig’s record for most consecutive baseball games played has never stood in their lifetimes.
  74. Genomes of living things have always been sequenced.
  75. The Sistine Chapel ceiling has always been brighter and cleaner.

Copyright© 2012 Beloit College Mindset List is a registered trademark

Four Misconceptions About Today’s Teens

From Wesleyan Life Online

Evangelizing teenagers may be the most challenging thing churches do. According to a widely cited statistic, only four percent of teens are Bible believing Christians—an all-time low. While that finding is seriously questioned by youth ministry professionals, everyone agrees that reaching teens is hard work.

My own first attempt at youth ministry was a dismal failure. As a seminary student, I did a youth internship at church of about 150 people. A dozen young people showed up for the first meeting; not a bad start. But by the end of the year, the group was down to just four teens. I failed, in part, because I didn’t understand what teenagers value or how to relate to them.

study by Barna Research Group gives encouraging insights for anyone trying to reach the teenagers in their family, church, or community. Based on that report, here are four common misconceptions about what teens are looking for in adult relationships.

Misconception 1: Teens Don’t Respect Family Members

Exactly the opposite is true. Even though teens were not allowed to name parents as role models in this survey, family members were cited a whopping 37 percent of the time. If you have nieces, nephews, cousins, or grandchildren who are teens, they may respect you more than you realize.

Misconception 2: Teens Want Adults to Be Cool

Forty-eight percent of teens selected those who were kind, caring, courageous, or display other desirable personality traits, or were people whom they would like to emulate. Only a small percentage chose celebrities. Character trumps cool.

Misconception 3: Teens Don’t Care What You Think

Teenagers were also likely to choose as role models people who would help them achieve. The person who “helps me be a better person,” or is “most interested in my future” is very likely to capture a young person’s attention.

Misconception 4: Teens Don’t Want to Talk to You

Not surprisingly, vast majority of the role models named were people in some relationship with the teens themselves. Family members, coaches, teachers, and pastors were high on the list. Teens look up to the people who have established some intimacy with them. To influence a teenager, start talking to him or her.

As a teenager, whom did (or do) you most respect? Why?

Rev. Larry Wilson is senior pastor at Fall Creek Wesleyan Church in Fishers, Indiana.


As some of you know, my office and the youth room are one and the same.  We have been working on making the dual use much better for both the teens and myself.  Plus we have eliminated some of the clutter.  Since the room is used for teaching, we have a white board.  I enjoyed this acrostic that was written on the board as I came into the room.

T — Teacher

R — Right Hand of God

U — Understanding

T — Takes away our sin

H — Holy

Jesus said that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  I think our students came up with a pretty good description of Jesus in this little acrostic on truth.  I may be a little biased but I think we have a sharp group of students and it was good to see many of them here yesterday.  Not only do we have great students, but I am blessed to have a wonderful staff of adult volunteers and teachers and Marsha and Kelly do a great job of teaching the teen class in Sunday School.  Way to go!

Mindset List – Class of 2014

Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List.  It provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall.

Here is the full list.

The class of 2014 has never found Korean-made cars unusual on the Interstate and five hundred cable channels, of which they will watch a handful, have always been the norm.  Since “digital” has always been in the cultural DNA, they’ve never written in cursive and with cell phone to tell them the time, there is no need for a wrist watch.  Dirty Harry (who’s that?) is to them a great Hollywood director.  The American they have inherited is one of soaring American trade and budget deficits; Russia has presumably never aimed nukes at the United States and China has always posed an economic threat.

It’s a very interesting read for those of us who work with teens and young adults.

5 Keys to Transformational Youth Ministry

From Chuck Warnock:

Here are Chuck’s five ideas for transformational youth ministry.  I think he has hit the nail on the head.  For more on these click the link above.

1.  Build relationships. While this doesn’t sound like new advice, both Park and Zach see relationships with teens as the number one key to effective youth ministry.  “Kids don’t need more ‘hello’ friends,” Park noted.  Building relationships is really about building trust between adult leaders and youth group members.

2.  Share ministry. This one is interesting.  It is suggested that there be a 1 to 8 adult to teen ratio for the most effective youth ministry.

3.  Create safe space.

4.  Listen and confront.

5. Engage in service.

Youth ministry doesn’t have to spend a fortune or put on a rock concert to be effective in reaching junior high and high schoolers for Christ.  Personal relationships, adult mentors, honest conversation, and opportunities to help others create an atmosphere where students feel they belong, and eventually are able to believe.

There is some great stuff here.  I encourage you to check out the whole article.

Student Ministry Outcomes

Here is a interesting post regarding youth ministry:

Outcome Based Education

Here is what I like about this post.  She then goes on to list about 20 outcomes that should happen as a result of our student ministries.  I thought I would list them here.

– To have a relationship with Christ.

– To “own” their faith. I want for their faith to be theirs, and not mine, or that of their parents, or even that of our church. I want my youth to leave confident in their faith so that they can withstand the hurdles that other people will intentionally and unintentionally throw at it.

– To be unafraid of questions and doubts.

– To understand “imago dei” theology & treat others with the dignity & respect that comes from knowing they’re created in God’s image.

– To appreciate other Christian denominations, viewing them not as our competition or enemies but rather as our brothers & sisters in Christ. I want my youth to understand that we can learn from the different beliefs, worship styles, and traditions that exist in Christian denominations.

– To understand their role in the Body of Christ and to know that even as youth and young adults, they’re not just the future of the church, they ARE the church.

– To understand the importance of intergenerational community within the Body of Christ and to know, have relationships with, and value the Saints in our faith community.

– To be connected to a faith-based community that loves, supports, and guides them in their faith.

– To be committed to the local church and to know how to be a part of it – not just by attending it, but by serving it.

– To be connected to a non-parental, caring adult who has mentored them in their faith.

– To have discovered their gifts and understand how to use them to glorify & honor God.

– To be committed to living out their faith by serving others – not just during a week long summer mission trip, but wherever they are throughout their daily lives and in their own communities.

– To know how to advocate on behalf of the least of these.

– To know how to listen to others.

– To be Biblically literate and to have an understanding of the Bible as a story, not just as a rule book, science book, or encyclopedia.

– To understand the basic theology of their faith.

– To appreciate creation and know how to be a good steward of it.

– To be a critic of the cultural around them and yet to be unafraid of that culture and willing to contribute to it by creating their own art.

– To understand how their faith influences their perception of current events & vice versa.

– To understand that their faith is a journey, not a destination and that as such, it will always be evolving and growing.

While it may be a long list, it does help set ground work for student ministry and where we should be going with it.

Wednesday Update

Nice Weather and Some Rain

We are in an unsettled pattern right now — lots of clouds, rain here and there, the sun poking through the clouds.  It’s starting to get cooler and I have seen a couple trees starting to change color, but for the most part — it’s too early for that yet.  I love the temps we have been having — very nice.  I don’t even mind the rain, because we need it.

Running Update

Wednesday is one of my two rest days each week — the other being Sunday.  Yesterday I ran/walked about 2 miles in about 26 minutes.  I’m pressing for the 30 minute goal of walk/run  at the moment as an intermediate goal with an eventual goal of 30 minutes of running.

I am slowly adding distance as my time, legs and lungs will allow.  It’s beginning to feel better.

Happy “9’s Day”

I’m really surprised that Anna didn’t point this one out.  In case you missed it, today is 9/9/09.

Parkway Student Ministries

Tonight we had 12 students and 7 adults (for student ministries.)  It looks like the adults had their own crowd, which is very good.  We started out with a time of worship — taught Lincoln Brewster’s Majestic — we are currently worshiping in the sanctuary, because that’s where the video projector is.  19 people in a space designed for 130 is a bit strange.  Taking that in consideration, I thought the worship went well, also considering this is something new for our students.

I had the opportunity to teach middle school (our largest class — half the students were in my class.)  We had a great class time tonight.

Now it’s time to relax and then go to bed.  Seize the Day!