God at the Mall
As Youth workers we need be aware of the culture in which our students find themselves in everyday. Culture changes so fast now. New fashion, music, and technology change every 5 years according to Barna. We need to be able to keep up with the changes. The teaching materials that I have come across really have an understanding of todayís youth culture. It deals with current issues, comes with exciting graphics, and fast paced multi-media. I have even come across resources for parents that deal with cultural issues and help parents stay on top of what is occurring in their studentís life.
I believe that the church is a cultural repository. It needs to be a place that speaks to its culture. But many churches have missed the mark. The church as a whole has underestimated the power of culture and its influence on religion. Many students feel as if they have to step out of their culture in order to go to church. They feel as if they have stepped back in time. We need to bring the church into the 21st century. We need to appeal to a generation that is looking for a place to experience God, and know that He is relevant enough to meet their needs.
We need to be culturally aware. We need to be able to filter culture through the Word of God. We need to take a hard look at the extremes and see what the underlying issues are behind them. Behind every extreme there is probably an underlying reason as to why a student would do it. For instance, we had a group of Goth students begin to attend our church. They came in and we accepted them as they were. As the months went on, our students began to really get to know them and grow quite fond of them. As they gained acceptance, their behavior and the clothing began to change. Now they do not dress that way any longer. I believe that they we crying out for attention and wanted to be accepted.
Once they had achieved that, they no longer had to be extreme. If we truly want to reach this generation, we need to study culture and look at all aspects of how it impacts youth ministry.
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