Tag Archives: culture

Christian: Are You Ready For Exile Stage Two?

Some incredible insight here from Stephen Mcalpine for Australian culture. this is the world our young adults are growing up in and their peers will usher in this new exile.

Stephen McAlpine

The Western church is about to enter stage two of its exile from the mainstream culture and the public square. And it will not be an easy time.

In case you missed it, Exile Stage One began a few decades or so ago, budding in the sexual revolution of the sixties before building up a head of steam some 20 years ago. Finally some Christians sat down to talk about it 15 or so years ago, and that set the ball, and the publishing companies rolling.

For those of us in ministry who were culture watchers, Exile Stage One was a heady time.  Only we never called it Exile Stage One. We simply called it “Exile”, and poured over biblical texts such as the exilic book of Daniel and its New Testament counterpart 1Peter.  After all no one ever called World War One “World War One” before World War Two came along…

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What the world needs more of

Found this quote in this article today. I liked it and if this strikes a chord with you, have a read of the full thing, or even just the first two paragraphs.

“Brothers and sisters in Christ, the world doesn’t need a bullshit Christian subculture. It needs the church.”

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Love, Collaborate & Innovate.

I have just finished reading “You lost me” by David Kinnaman, which talks about the challenges facing the church in response to a generation of young adults that have said to the church, “you lost me”. In the last chapter he gets inputs from a stack of people on how the church can response to this challenge. Charles Lee gives an incredible challenge to the church in this little nugget.

The creative implementation of innovative ideas is at an all-time high. Rapid advancements in technology and human networks have exponentially opened up new pathways to actualizing one’s passions. Unlike in past centuries, people no longer need to wait for “permission” from established institutions to pursue a dream. If a person genuinely cares about a product or cause and commits wholeheartedly to giving his or her life to it, he or she will find or be found by a tribe of like-minded people. What does this mean for the church today? We must humbly recognize our inability to “manage” people. Most are not asking to be managed but rather loved. We must move from cultures like Britannica (i.e., closed and controlled) to that of Wikipedia (i.e., open and collaborative) in which new ideas are welcome, easily shared, and postured for refinement and collaboration. We must architect more communities that allow for innovation without threat and inspiration without judgment. The alternative to all of this will be a growing trend of disinterest, pessimism, and abandonment.

WOW! How could your church respond to this?

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Treat your Senior Students Differently:

In the many years I have been in ministry I have noticed that there is a definite age where youth drift away from our ministry.  For us, it’s grade 9.  By the start of grade 10 and even by the end of grade 9 we have significantly fewer people attending then in grade 8 and 7.

There is a whole bunch of reasons why this is, and I would love to hear your thoughts below. I am becoming more and more aware that the type of ministry that young and older students respond to is very different. It is a very different life stage and students are dealing with very different issues.

I found this fantastic article that outlines some thoughts about how we can treat our more senior students differently and I love all of it.

Check it out  http://www.organicstudentministry.com/?p=1107

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Aussie teens value prayer over drugs and alcohol… just

159064_prayerAustralian teenagers value shopping over prayer…and prayer only just wins out over drugs and alcohol.

If you’re working with young people in the church in any way, shape or form, gaining insight into the spiritual lives of the people you are working with is invaluable. While there are many studies done in America on the spirituality of young people that is very useful and insightful for us in Australia, it is often hard to come across research that speaks into the spiritual life of Australian teens.

That is why Putting Life Together: Findings from Australian Youth Spirituality Research by Philip Hughes is such a valuable piece of research. It gives a great insight into the spiritual culture of Australian teens and what you find will be very sobering.

This book woke me up to the reality of the culture we are working in and as a youth worker – who also works within a school – this is a stark reminder of what teens actually think.

One table in particular (table 6) asked teens to rank the importance of various means to peace and happiness. Here is the ranking of what 13-24 year olds said:

  1. Listening to music
  2. Working or study
  3. Being close to nature: by the sea or in the bush
  4. Being creative artistically (like painting or craft)
  5. Shopping
  6. Prayer or meditation
  7. Drinking alcohol or taking recreational drugs

What smacked me in the face with these results were that young people find peace and happiness through prayer only slightly more than they do through drinking alcohol and taking drugs (and the difference was very slim), and they find peace and happiness through prayer less than they do through shopping.

The average young person in Australia will turn to almost everything else to find peace and happiness than they will to prayer and to God, and only just a little more than they would to drugs and alcohol.

WHAT THIS TELLS ME

  • The young people I am trying to talk to about Jesus simply do not care. Jesus doesn’t even register on their radar most of the time as a legitimate focus for their lives.
  • I am strange. The priorities of my life and what I value are way out of sync with those of young Australians. This is ok, but I need to be aware of this as I talk to and interact with young people.
  • When it comes to youth nights, and I get up and talk about spending time with God and the role that God plays in our lives – to a room that is half full of Christian kids and half full of non-Christian kids – I need to remember how far away from caring half the room is.
  • In trying to share the gospel with young people, I need to first remember that they really don’t care about spiritual things and remember all the other things in their life that are more important.
  • I really need to be aware of what I communicate about spiritual things like a healthy prayer life. Do I send a message that it is something you do because you’re a Christian? Or is it something you do because it’s connecting to a relational God that will change your life? Maybe teens don’t care for prayer because they don’t see that it makes any difference.

It’s important for us to remember and understand the young person we are talking to when conveying the gospel. Next time I stand up in Chapel at school and talk about prayer, I need to remember how very little the majority of people I’m talking to see prayer as something legitimate and important in their life. How do we communicate the life-changing message of God’s saving grace in a way that connects and actually registers? How can God become central to these young lives? How we communicate is key to this.

And just to drive it home even more: this research was predominantly conducted in Christian and Catholic schools.

What would the results look like for the general public?

What do these results tell you?

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Is the gospel good news anymore?

I am currently reading a book which summarizes research done into the spirituality of Australian young people. It’s called Putting Life Together by Philip Hughes. I am learning from this something I have suspected all along. I am strange, because I do not see the world as most people do. secondly i am learning that most Australian young people simply do not care for or have room in their lives for a genuine Christian faith.

This is echoed well in a great post I just read on the Average Youth Ministry blog. Check it out, a very sobering read and I believe a very real reality for those of us in youth ministry. http://www.averageyouthministry.com/2013/04/17/what-do-you-do-now-that-the-gospel-is-no-longer-good-news/

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