Posted by Kurt Johnston
On Friday night, I am speaking to a group of about 100 denominational youth pastors. When I asked the organizer of the event what he would like me to talk about, he gave me an answer that I’m sure was meant to free me up….to give me tons of options…to avoid putting me in a box. But, frankly, his answer has served to mess with my mind this week as I try to prepare. “Speak to us about how to reach today’s teenagers” was his reply. Simple enough, right? Maybe for you!
On one hand I get it….all of us want to know how best to reach today’s teenagers. Afterall, that’s what we are in the business of doing, right? Great topic. One everybody will be interested in!
But on the other hand….the topic is begging for a “silver bullet” answer; a formula that, if followed, will result in these youth groups reaching more of today’s teens than ever before. I’m a pragmatist (to a fault many times), and formulas often make sense to me. I like “three steps to a healthy marriage” (as if there are only THREE), and “The Keys to Financial Freedom”. Formulas, step-by-step strategies and the like usually make sense to me. So a “How to” topic would seem to be right up my alley.
But not this time. The subject matter is too important, the ramifications too high to try to boil it down to a formula, or a set of keys, or a few steps.
I can already hear my opening remarks: “Reaching today’s teenagers” is hard, frustrating, thankless work…..and there’s no way to tidy it up into a pragmatic formula.”