Common Sense Media just came out with their brand new report about teens and social media revealing exactly how many teens now have smartphones (89%), their favorite apps (Snapchat), their feelings about how social media makes them feel (they’re fooling themselves) … here’s their infographic with the highlights:
RECENT BLOG POSTS
And how are those numbers changing?
Many of us have read articles about the decreasing amount of believers in the U.S.– like this fascinating Washington Post article a few years back displaying 22 different maps of various religious groups and their influence in the U.S., or this one about weekly church attendance.
I find it interesting to see how this translates to youth ministry.
For example: I swung through Denver yesterday after spending the day with Focus on the Family in Co Springs… and I connected with one of my favorite friends in the youth ministry world, Greg Stier, passionate follower of Jesus and founder of Dare2Share Ministries, an organization who is really doing something about trying to reverse those numbers. Dare 2 Share is launching their Dare 2 Share Live event in about 30 days from now. On October 13 there will be 99 satellite sites FILLED with thousands upon thousands of teenagers getting trained, equipped and unleashed for the gospel! (It’s really cool, check it out HERE and find the site closest to you- you won’t want to let your youth group miss this one of a kind event!)
On Greg’s Dare 2 Share Live webpage they show a map of where youth ministries have responded hosting this event. Check it out:
Obviously this doesn’t necessarily dictate where true believers are… but do you notice the resemblance to most the U.S. religious landscape maps?
As a resident of California and a frequent speaker in the Pacific Northwest, I’m really hoping to see more Idaho, Montana, and Oregon churches- to name a few- getting involved in evangelism opportunities like this.
Where is your church on this map?
Maybe you should connect with Dare2Share and become a part of this?
and they do nothing.
They merely “stand by.”
Some chuckle, some shake their heads. But no one does anything.
Are “bystanders” any better than the bully?
Ask the kid whose being harassed every day.
The book is a sobering peek into a high school campus during a school shooting. A curious thing I’ve observed about school shootings –the dialogue that takes place as students and teachers barricade themselves in classrooms, closets etc. They don’t talk about music downloads or their favorite YouTube video. They talk about stuff that matters.
Like my Zombie book, this book uses a fictional premise to springboard meaningful conversation about real world struggles. In this case the story provokes discussion about faith, integrity… and most importantly… how we treat others.
Narratives often speak loudly to today’s young people. And this book isn’t afraid to ask some of the big questions.
It’s not just some alarmist headline—the CDC issued a press release Monday revealing the fourth consecutive year of sharp increases in chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in the U.S.
Are we listening yet?
Last year the country heard this warning and was surprised at the news of STDs at a record high… again. The year prior we heard the warning and many thought it was a fluke thing… I stated my own theories as to why this was no surprise.
It wasn’t a fluke thing. It’s still on the rise. In fact…
- Chlamydia was once again the most common condition reported to the CDC with more than 1.7 million cases in the U.S, compared to 1.3 million in 2013. Almost half of those are 15-24-year-old females. Here’s the scary thought: Chlamydia is often asymptomatic in females. So how many didn’t report it?
- Gonorrhea increased 67 percent overall and nearly doubled among men. And it could soon become resistant to antibiotic treatment.
- Syphilis increased 76 percent.
- Fewer young people are using condoms (and a particular group is even more at risk)
“We are sliding backward.” Director of the CDC’s STD center said.
You know what this means.
People are going to begin to point fingers.
It was almost exactly one year ago that people tried pointing fingers at Abstinence-Only Education… and I chimed in on that with a post that probably made people on both sides a little uncomfortable (the truth hurts).
And I won’t play innocent… because even I pointed my finger to one obvious source (with a fun little math problem for your kids).
So how should we respond?
Every expert agrees… we need to create a comfortable climate of continual conversations about sex.
What does this look like?
Parents: we need to have more than just the talk. It’s not one talk… it’s an ongoing conversation. Help them understand sex matters. Don’t be afraid to go to the CDC web page and show them the whole truth (did you know that the CDC STD prevention page lists “abstinence” as the most reliable way to avoid infection? I give you a guided tour of how to present this to your kids HERE.)
Are you creating a climate of continual conversations?
No, that doesn’t mean you have to bring the subject up. It just means don’t dodge it next time it comes up.
Do your kids know the whole story?
And here’s what I want to know:
What advice do you think today’s young men need more than anything else?
Every time I speak at leadership event for today’s young people I notice something overwhelmingly obvious: the ratio of guys to girls.
Can you guess what it is?
I’ll put it this way. If there were 100 student leaders in a room, then 80 of them would be girls.
As thrilled as I am for girls (and for my two daughters), I mourn for today’s young men. Why is it that young men aren’t rising up to the challenge? What’s distracting them?
Many of you have seen my first Guy’s Guide book, a book with 101 real world tips for today’s teenage guys- The Guy’s Guide to God, Girls, and the Phone in Your Pocket. For some reason this particular book has struck a chord with readers– it’s by far my best seller. Maybe because it’s hitting such a huge need.
That’s why we decided to do a second book in the series to guys (and yes, I have one for girls AND guys HERE). In this one, we’re going to specifically target some of the biggest pressures, temptations and distractions young men face today. The working title is:
The Guy’s Guide to Four Battles Every Young Man Must Fight
We’re going to address these four areas: self image, substances, sex, and screens.
With that in mind… what would you like to see in this book? Use the comments below, and if you like, start with these words:
“I’d like to see you address…”
Earlier this week I was looking through the archives of the articles I wrote to youth workers back in the days… really fun looking through it all. I found this little gem from April of 2005 (I had totally forgotten about this). It gives you a glimpse of the type of kids I worked with… NOT very politically correct, mind you (apparently the filter was completely off back then).
WHAT IF DR. SEUSS HAD CHAPERONED ONE OF YOUR
YOUTH MINISTRY EVENTS?
One kid, two kid,
old kid, new kid.
Flabby kid, toned kid,
clean kid, stoned kid Continue reading “If Dr. Seuss was in youth ministry” »
Remember when we looked like this?
We’ve been revamping this thing for years! And hold on to your hats… because it’s about to get even better.
In the next couple weeks you all are going to see some welcome changes around here. Many of you have noticed that both my blog and TheSource4Parents.com have both been completely revamped: mobile friendly, new content at the forefront, much easier to navigate. Well the youth ministry site is about to get the same revamp (longtime needed)… Continue reading “Remember when we looked like this?” »
This new piece of fiction is titled Bystanders, and I thought I’d give away the print version to the first 100 of my U.S. blog readers who would love to read it… with one condition: you read it. (Sorry those outside the U.S., I love you, I honestly just can’t afford the shipping. Buy the Kindle version!)
Seriously. And if you like it Continue reading “giving the first 100 of you my school shooting book” »
But never like today.
We’ve come a long way from “Like a Virgin” being shocking. In fact we’ve come a long way from, “I Kissed a Girl.” Sure we’ve seen some raunchy lyrics from top artists before… but never so potent at the top of the charts.
So far this month the Billboard Hot 100 has only one song that is not explicit in the top 10. And those that are… really push the envelope.
Drake’s song, In My Feelings, currently at No. 1, is probably one of the cleaner songs in the charts… that is… if you ignore the sampling of Lil Wayne & Magnolia Shorty near the end of the song with the lyrics:
Bring that a*s, bring that a*s, bring that a*s back!
B-bring that a*s, bring that a*s, bring that a*s back!
Shawty say the nigga that she with can’t hit
But shawty, I’ma hit it, hit it like I can’t miss
Now let me see you
Clap that a*s, you’re the only one I love Continue reading “Depreciating Morality in the Top Music” »
I always enjoy the dialogue with Jim and John when I’m invited to be a guest on the Focus on the Family daily broadcast. On this Wednesday’s broadcast Jim interviewed me about my new book The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, asking how it can help parents open up this important dialogue with their kids. At this point in the interview he asked me how to help parents engage in a conversation about online safety in a way that kids will actually listen.
Here’s my reply:
You can catch the whole show on their broadcast this Wednesday on Focus on the Family… or online at FocusOnTheFamily.com