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November 6, 2006

We took about 20 students from our youth ministry to the Aquire the Fire conference in Chicago last weekend. More about the event and our kids tomorrow, but here are some interesting things I learned:

//1 in 11 teenagers attempts suicide each year, and each year about 2000 succeed.

//40% of teenagers have experimented with self-mutilation.

//1 in 10 high school girls have been raped.

//By the time the average child graduates from high school, he/she will have watched 19,000 hours of TV including about 200,000 sexual acts and 1 million acts of violence.

//40% of “born again” teens believe Jesus sinned.

//90% of teenagers have been subject to pop-up porn while doing homework online.

//240,000 teenagers get pregnant in America each year, and 1/3 of those preganacies end in abortion.

Why? Because sex sells. This generation of teenagers is the largest our nation has ever seen, and they have more disposable income than any that has gone before. They’re looking for an identity and a purpose (like every other teenager in the world), and MTV made $1 billion dollars last year selling them an identity that’s easy to conform to.

More importantly, because the church is not providing an alternative. Most churches don’t really value their youth ministries at all (not at CITW, though!); we had a room full of over 100 youth pastors and leaders, and the vast, vast majority of them are working on a 100% volunteer basis. Most youth ministries are completely under-funded. Most Sunday morning services are boring, and completely unapplicable to teenage lives. There’s no passion in the church, and I know of my own peers (the now 20-somethings) that if it wasn’t worth dying for we weren’t really interested.

Are we living examples of the adventure it is to live a true Christian lifestyle? Are we passionate enough about our King to inspire that passion in people who are literally dying for something to be passionate about? If not, we don’t really have any right to complain 20 years down the road when America starts to look a lot like Europe is looking.

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