Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Do We Shortchange Christian Youth?

I know...the title isn't typical of what I've posted lately. But it's something I've thought about the last couple weeks. In In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day Mark Batterson mentions almost as a sidenote: Lion chasers refuse to live their lives in a defensive posture. They are actively looking for ways to make a difference." (p. 121)

Then he quotes from Bob Briner's Book Roaring Lambs, where he challenges us to dare to dream that the top director in Hollywood, the Pultizer Prize winning journalist, and the principle dancer for the leading ballet company are all Christians. To quote Batterson again, "We need to stop criticizing culture and start creating it."

I can remember as a teenager telling people (mainly from the church) that I wanted to go into journalism or politics. That's where I felt called from about the age of 14. And I remember the recoiling in horror. "Christians can't go in those areas and remain Christians."

I wanted to ask why not. I might have even done it. And then I had the strength to pursue those fields anyway, despite what people I admired and respected said. Thanks to Mom and Dad for not joining that chorus.

And now I we continue in that same path? Do we tell young people in the church that the only way they can truly serve God is by being a teacher, minister, or missionary? I pray not.  Because as I look at the world, Hollywood needs a lot of tent makers. As does Washington, D.C., New York City, and every other seat of power.

What do you think? Does the church direct youth one place or is it getting better?


Timothy Fish said...

I had a lengthy discussion yesterday on Facebook that is related to this. The other fellow argued that Public schools are ungodly places that are ruining our children. I argued that the only way for us to get God in schools is if we send teachers and students who have God in their hearts into the schools. I argued that a newly saved eight year old has more opportunities and is more willing to share his testomony with his friends in a public school than most adults do once they get out of school. As for telling kids what they can and cannot be when they grow up, I really haven't seen that, but yes, I believe we are shortchanging Christian youth if we don't give them opportunities to share their faith with lost friends.

Anni said...

Cara, are you familiar with the Harris boys? They wrote a book called "Do Hard Things" and have a great web site.

Anonymous said...

I don't think we deliberately do it but it is done subtely. My daughter has a passion for fashion and graduated recently with a degree in Fashin Merchandisig and another in Apparell Design. She felt really bad that it was not offered at any Christian college. But I told her that if God called her to that area then He did not call her to a Christian college. While no one ever told her this was not a area Christians should go into, precious few rejoiced over her finding the calling God placed on her life the way they did the students who found the calling God placed on them to be pastors or Christian Education students. Somehow she got the message that her calling was somehow second class. Her father and I assured her that God's calling for her was what she should pursue and it is definitely not second class. Her answer was priceless-God was the first fashion designer after all-look what he did with the fig leaves.

My son is in a similar position now since he is going to school for Video game programming. No Christian school has this program and again very few rejoiced over his choice of study the way they did his friends who chose youth ministry or Biblical studies.

For both my children they had to really work at finding and developing fellowship for themselves on a campus where not everyone claims to be a Christian. But their friends who are on Christian campuses assure them that not all who claim to be Christian on a Cristian campus have a faith of their wn but are Christian because that is how they were raised and that is what they were told they are. They have no walk of their own.

Now my third son does feel called to ministry (we shall see if this call is real as he continues through high school) and I rejoice that he is pursuing God's call but no more than I rejoiced over my other tow kids as they pursued God's call on their lives. We should never discourage students from pursuing God's call on their lives whatever that calling is.

Cara Putman said...

Anni, I LOVE that book. When I kept asking my mom how she raised world changers, she couldn't say. Then I read that book and thought this is it! Can't wait to go through it soon with my daughter and her Bible study group.

Anonymous, I'm so sorry! I know how your kids felt. I'm glad they were strong enough to follow God anyway. And I am glad I went to a non-Christian university -- it was where God wanted me.

Timothy, I agree in part. I think we have to be careful with thrusting young kids into situations they can't handle. But I totally agree that Christians teachers are on the mission field in a huge way! I know lots of Christians who are teaching, definitely called to it, and making such a difference. Grateful for them!


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