In the famous literary classic, A Tale of Two Cities, the opening line states, “it was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” I believe this could be said of youth ministry in America today. We’ve got more resources, youth ministry programs, and means to reach teens than ever before. Youth ministry is becoming less and less a stepping stone to “real ministry” and more a strategic ministry led by committed specialists. It is the best of times! However, the war for the very soul of America rages more ferociously than ever, and that war is at its greatest intensity among our youth. In his book, BattleCry, Ron Luce shares that if we don’t reach this generation in a more effective way, the Christian heritage of America is all but lost. His stats tell us that approximately 4% of the current youth generation is comprised of Bible-believing and Bible-behaving Christians. What does an America with only 4% of a generation acting as salt and light look like in 5 years…, in 10 years…, in 20 years? I shudder at the thought! Of the last 11 years I’ve served in youth ministry, I believe we are in one of the most crucial and sobering times our nation has ever seen.
I truly believe the hope of the world is the local church (of course the Hope of the world is Jesus Christ in the local church!). Community by community, the local church has the privilege and calling to be salt and light – a hospital to the lost and hurting in the community. Reaching this generation is the calling and responsibility of the entire church to come together to reach them. Working alongside the local churches, many para-church ministries have taken up the call to reach out to this generation like never before. One such endeavor is the BattleCry stadium events that take place around the country. Through them, Ron Luce and TeenMania are gathering teens by the thousands and imparting fresh vision to them. Thousands of local churches have partnered together with BattleCry to say they will win this generation, whatever it takes. In May, a busload of youth from The Church of Grace and Peace went to the Virginia BattleCry and were powerfully impacted as they joined thousands of others to receive a fresh vision and burden for their generation.
We are also excited to be a part of the effort to bring BattleCry to the Continental Arena in February 2008. Amidst the headlines of despair, we know the good news is that God is still on the throne and this generation is reachable! We can rise up and get the job done. Stay tuned for more details about how you can be part of the BattleCry for THIS generation!
-Jim Wehrer, Youth Pastor
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