The Youth of a Nation

North Creek Church is the home to LOTS of leaders who have been intimately involved in youth ministry over the last few seasons of their lives.  So, needless to say, when a teenager walks into our church they are treated well!  Many of us still miss the glory days of youth ministry and find solice in the eyes of someone under the age of 20.  The last two years have actually been a training ground for talking to adults after so many years entrenched in junior high and high school lingo.   

As youth pastors we developed one core value that will never be shaken…teenagers are usable.  They can be on the worship team, they can teach, they can greet, they can serve in nearly every capacity that adults can.  The statistics are staggering for the number of teenagers that walk away from Christianity when they graduate.  I believe a lot of this is due to the fact that we are unable to connect a graduated senior into the life of the “adult” church.  We haven’t given them any responsibility within the context as the church as a whole, so it’s a foreign land.  Outside the four walls of the youth group, they haven’t developed very many relationships…especially pastoral relationships.  So when it’s time to join the worship team, they get to start at the bottom of the food chain by meeting the worship pastor.  It’s daunting and debilitating to an energetic 18 year old who has already invested their teen years into being a productive member of the church…but nobody knew it!

There is balance in our philosophy as well.  We know that teenagers are still part “kid”, too.  They need social time with their peers and teaching on different topics than what a typical adult might need.  For example, abstinence is not a popular sermon among married people, but it’s vital that a teenager grasps the concept of abstinence and purity.  That’s why our youth ministry gets their own sermon every other week.  They get this beautiful mix of hearing from their youth pastor and their lead pastor all of the time. 

We love the teenagers that call North Creek home.  We know their names, we talk to them, and we do our best to understand the challenges and dreams that they have.  And I believe it will pay off.  I fully intend to have all of my jobs taken over by the amazing talent that is lurking two decades below me…

  1. Wonderful article. Young people know more than we think and are more open than we think and we need them as much as they need us. Continue to encourage young people. Hope you like the information I will be submitting about a recent study among 1,000 of America’s young people.

    Rev. David Hammock
    President & CEO
    Revivals For America
    Raleigh, NC 27604


    Over a 12 month period from 2007-2008, Revivals For America conducted a study among 1,000 American young people, ages 12-27 to determine how open and willing young people are to discuss issues they are facing, that other studies seem to reveal young Americans are negative about, or that previous studies which have appeared to suggest that America’s youth are lost, without direction and that the majority do not believe in absolute truth. Founder and President, David Hammock personally conducted this study through live interviews around America, without pre-conceived notions of what to expect. Prompted by a major Christian research study, which indicated 91% of America’s youth do not believe in absolute truth, David Hammock was compelled to go out and meet America’s youth face to face and seek answers for himself. “I was quite disturbed by the information from the report I read and I said, no, I can’t stand by and not know the truth about this. We can either be a victim of statistics or allow our findings to be utilized to become a catalyst for a victory for the Savior,” Hammock stated after the study. “I had to know the truth for myself,” David said.
    The study group was made up of teen-agers, college students, graduate students, young single Americans and young married couples. The subjects were from all different races, different religious backgrounds within Christianity (both churched and un-churched) and some were non-Christians. Different racial and ethnic participants were a part of the study, and everyone came from various socio-economic backgrounds as well. 49% were college students or college educated with a four year academic degree; 18% were age 12-18; 10% were graduate students; 12% were young married couples, 2% were of post-graduate level status and 9% were non-college educated.
    The purpose of the study was to see: 1-How approachable America’s youth are; 2-Would they talk about controversial issues with a stranger; 3-What subjects could or could not be discussed; 4-What young Americans believe; 5-What young Americans think about the state of the American union; 6-How hopeful the youth of America are; 7-If America’s youth are preparing or prepared for the challenges they will be facing; 8-Do American young people know the truth about America; 9-What would America’s youth change if given the opportunity and 10-What are the most pressing concerns on their minds. Contrary to other reports I’ve read, some startling revelations came out, and Revivals For America was happy to be a part of this work.


    99.3% of all participants were willing to talk openly and honestly, announced or unannounced about any subject. 6 people were non-responsive and only one person grew angry during the interviews.
    99.9% of the young people interviewed talked candidly, and in a detailed manner as well as give general information about the subject matter being discussed. There were no topics that any interviewee was unwilling to answer questions about.
    99.1% of the American surveyed would discuss: family background, home-life, school work, topics of study in school dating, the opposite sex, church, God, religion, denominational distinctive or tenets of their faith or belief systems, politics, morality, issues of justice, the American court system, perspective careers, a future mate, sex, truth, hobbies, travel, the media and money. There was virtually no topic that could not be discussed by the majority of those involved. Young people knew what they thought and how they felt and did not feel threatened by the nature of the questions.
    98% of those surveyed believe in family, working to get ahead, communication, getting along with others,
    ending the war in Iraq, the need for better government, education, and improved economy, a balanced criminal justice system and the need for better jobs in America.

    88% of the young people responding do not have a good feeling about America’s future. They don’t know what to expect. They expressed the need to keep trying. Some felt America would “come up with something” to pull through and yet, the outlook of future increased taxation and replacement in the job markets by immigrants was a grim concern. 95% of the youth age 12-22 felt they would be paying off their college loans the rest of their lives, if in fact; college loans were still going to be available. There was great fear about the future of college funding. Some weren’t of the persuasion they would ever be able to buy a house. Only 12% were hopeful about America’s future.

    82% of survey participants didn’t feel anyone has a solution for America’s problems. They feel isolated from “Washington, DC’ and American politics and feel that “Washington” has provoked whatever apathy they feel, because the main qualitification for being in the political arena, it was felt was to “be a good liar,” as they put it. Participants felt “pushed aside,” unimportant in the political scene and without a voice. Participants felt Washington will “do what they want and they don’t care about the average person.”

    Only 33% of America’s youth surveyed feel they really know the truth about the state of affairs in America. With the Washington lies, the media’s inaccuracies, classroom whitewashing of facts and information, feeling very disconnected from the church, religion and those professing to be ministers, many have lost faith in role models, because they feel no one will listen, validate them and be the leaders they are “suppose to be.” 81% of those feeling they know the truth rely on their family to tell them, or the

    95% of those interviewed indicated “We want to know the truth, but no one will tell us.” They were appalled in disbelief at the statistic David Hammock quoted to them about only 91% of America’s youth believing in absolute truth. 100% of the young people expressed a desire to know the truth but the question was, “Who do we believe? What do we believe? Why has the truth been kept from us?’ Other statements were made such as: “We need an anchor. We want an anchor. We want stability in America. We want to believe in the right things. What are the right things to believe in? We want to raise our future families’ right. How do we find out what we need to know? Who will tell us? We need leadership, but we also want to be respected. We know America’s in trouble. We want to help, but we don’t know what to do. How do we fix it?” At least 55% of young Americans interviewed do believe there is absolute truth and that God is the source of that truth, which is totally contrary to the Christian survey figure of 91% previously quoted, that inspired this report.


    I would suggest that we all take a closer look at what we say we believe and are committed to. Young people detect phoniness quicker than any group of people I know. 12 year olds spot “fakes” as quick as “20 somethings.” They want to be heard by adults as much as adults think they should be heard by adults. Many young people feel adults over 30 have grown to be so “politically correct” that trustworthiness is a joke. The American minister and the American politician are two of the most non-trusting groups of professionals, according to young Americans, of “anybody” in America. They will admit that not all are bad, but their experiences have left doubt in their hearts, and skepticism in their minds. The number one cry of all young Americans questions was “Show us a better way. We’re willing to try it. We want leaders who really lead.” May God use this survey to prompt you to pray, take action, reconnect with the youth in your life, build better relations with youth, and if you are a leader, then be the leader you’re meant to be. Don’t compromise. Do the right thing. You never know the impact you are having and how many lives are being affected. Don’t pass up any opportunity to be a positive influence on the life of a young person. They are watching and looking to you for your example more than you will ever know.

    David Hammock. Copyright © 2008. All Rights Reserved.

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