I recently read a book that was written for teenagers called, This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years by Jaquelle Crowe. In the first chapter, “Our Identity,” she wrote, “Christians who live for this new kingdom have a new King. His name is Jesus. Because of him, everything is transformed. We’re now part of a counter-culture movement. We’re not like the other teenagers around us. We don’t conform to stereotypes. We’ve actually become weird in the eyes of our culture. Teen magazines are not written for us. Modern pop music is not composed for us. The latest TV lineup is not scripted for us. We’re not your average teenagers anymore.”
I know I’m new here, but I love our youth group! There are a lot of teens here who truly love God, who desire to grow in their relationship with Christ, and who desire to see others come to Christ. There are some who aren’t quite there yet and are still figuring out who they are. There are likely some as well who are not sure if they want to live a life committed to God and his word, but there’s a common factor amongst all of them. There is a battle for their attention, their affections, their purpose, their souls.
Jaquelle Crowe is right. Social media, movies, YouTube, music and TV are not designed to strengthen our faith. These platforms are not designed to turn our affection and attention toward Christ. Rather, frequently they appeal toward base instincts of selfishness, self-glorification, and idolatry. I don’t write this to condemn social media, like the cantankerous old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn. Instead, I write this to encourage our parents and older members to reach out to our youth group. Pray for them. Build them up. Encourage them. Love them.
For a teen, the Christian life can seem tough. It can seem isolating. Romans 12:2 tells us not to be conformed but to be transformed, but lots of other voices tell our teens to be conformed – to false representations of beauty, to carnal thinking, to peer pressure, and to consumerism (to name a few). Our teens, like all of us, are called to be transformed, to find their identity in Christ. Let’s help them do it. Let’s be voices that communicate the truth of the Gospel to them.