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Technology
OK… I turned 50 this year… so if my math is correct, it’s been a full 31 years since I’ve been a teenager. But ‘back in the day’, things were a lot different. I remember being bullied on the bus by a kid three grades older than me that said he was going to do something terrible to me with a knife (which he pulled from his pocket).  Of course, it was harmless.  Not that the 1 1/2 inch blade on his pocket knife wouldn’t have hurt.  He was all talk (which I know now)… but when you’re 8, you don’t have that filter. I also remember having to wait in line at my high school to use the pay phone.  I needed to call home to ask my mom to come and pick me up after a practice or event.  (For those under 30, pay phones were these weird contraptions that acted much like a cell phone does today, only they were about a hundred times larger than a cell phone and had a slot for a dime (or later, a quarter) to make a call. Today things are much different. No more pay phones.  We carry more technology in our pockets today that we could have ever dreamed of 31 years ago. And while in-person bullying takes place today, much of that has moved online; and many times is much meaner and much more serious that what I ever had to deal with. Take for instance this graphic describing some of what our teenagers are dealing with: keep reading
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Leadership
Andy Stanley is not speaking at our next online conference. In fact, neither is anyone else you’ve heard of… yet. We’re happy to invite you to Leadership Network’s next online conference called “groundSWELL”.  The topic is the future of the church; and the speakers are all aged 13-19.  That’s right… every speaker is a teenager! The future of the church is alive and well inside each one of our churches.  But what will it take to reach their generation? We asked some of the sharpest teenage minds in the church TODAY about what the church will need to be like TOMORROW. You’ll hear from LAUREN.  Lauren is a very articulate young woman, zealous-for-God and the lost..  At 17 years old, whe’s a leader among her peers, and a real leader and voice for the future in her church. NICK officially joined his church staff when he was just 16; and is currently training for full-time ministry.  He’s passionate about studying all-things church, and will no-doubt be an unstoppable force in the next generation of the church. And you’ll meet JACOB.  Jacob is a tremendous leader and speaker.  As a teenager, he led his church in Chicago to start a movement to help eradicate world hunger and reach out to those who need the Gospel of Jesus. These are just three of the more than two dozen young leaders we’ll introduce you to. We asked these young leaders “What does the church need to change to reach your generation?”  Their answers make up our entire three hour online conference. The conference is scheduled for Thursday, March 1.  It is free and online… all you need is your computer and a good internet connection.  But you must pre-register to attend. I hope you’ll join us as we take a look at the future of the church through the eyes of those who will be leading it.  You may not have heard of the speakers yet, but they are our future leaders.  And we can learn from them today. Take one minute right now to register for this free event at http://groundswell.tv.  It all happens on March 1.
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Controversy
A very interesting article written for the Wall Street Journal today about the way that teenage girls are dressing these days.
But it’s easy for parents to slip into denial. We wouldn’t dream of dropping our daughters off at college and saying: “Study hard and floss every night, honey—and for heaven’s sake, get laid!” But that’s essentially what we’re saying by allowing them to dress the way they do while they’re still living under our own roofs.
—Jennifer Moses is the author of “Bagels and Grits: A Jew on the Bayou” and “Food and Whine: Confessions of a New Millennium Mom.” via WSJ.com. So… is the way teenage girls are dressing worse than in the past?  What trends have you seen at your church?  Anything you’ve had to confront or deal with at this point yet?
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Trends
A new study of teenagers shows America’s youth are reconsidering the morality of sex and embracing the value of abstinence before marriage. Half of the over 5,000 teens surveyed concluded that sex before marriage was “never” morally acceptable; over 70 percent rejected the practice of “living together” before marriage; and 61 percent confessed they would like to be a virgin on their wedding day. Furthermore, 63 percent agreed, “If I wasn’t a virgin and I could change the past, I would have sex after marriage.” via American teens: We want our virginity back. What do YOU think… do you buy it? From what I’m seeing (and I have three teenagers), I really don’t think 63% of non-virgins would say they would have taking a re-do and saved sex for marriage. As for the other stats… I’m doubtful as well. But… what do you think? Todd
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