So, last week, my computer finally crashed. Actually, I knew it was happening … but for a little over a week, I tried to pretend like it wasn’t and just kept using it. For example, I couldn’t send email right away … I had to create and send the email, log out of outlook, re-start the computer, re-open outlook and then it might go through! And in the midst of that, most days, the screen would go black and I’d have to turn the computer off for a while before I could use it again. It was most frustrating and very non-productive!
According to the Geek Squad, I had 87 viruses and a display driver issue which kept causing my screen to go black. And what’s worse - I have Norton Anti-Virus on my computer, too! I thought it was set up to run regular scans and so I never tried to open it and double check periodically to see that all was well! Come to find out, I guess the viruses were causing it not to update or prevent others from attacking! Not cool.
With all this extra forced “down” time last week, I got to thinking! I was catching up on some reading about postmodernism and the millennial generation as I realized, this computer infestation and breakdown was comparable to a teen’s (or anyone for that matter but for this post, I will focus on teens) relationship with God!
Like the computer, an infestation (i.e. sin, guilt, stress, broken relationships, peer pressure, etc.) can happen in a youth’s life and they may not even realize the damage going on “behind the scenes” because of it until the breakdown happens. This easily happens when the youth of today don’t deal with the infestation or have a mentor or a parent around who might help!
There’s no denying that today’s teens are the busiest generation ever with the most influences ever (i.e. media). And, I think pretty much all postmodern and millennial experts would agree that the world has changed, teens have changed, and their responses to our (the church) past programs have even changed on a broad scale. I read something that said teens today just don’t have the time to and won’t be a part of programs that don’t meet their needs. And, there are hundreds of articles about how often times, we (the church at large) aren’t do much to adapt to this generation.
In addition to business, one characteristic of postmodernism is that morality is personal. One post-modern philosopher thinks: “morality is seen as each person’s private code of ethics without the need to follow traditional values and rules.” I say, who better than the church to step in and mentor (youth AND their parents) and have an influence on this personal ethic development!
I, for one, don’t want to become irrelevant in having a potential impact on teenager’s personal ethics! I hope that someday, someone will do that for my son! But to me, it’s sort of like the resistance that a virus can develop to an anti-biotic. Over time, the medicine just won’t make a difference in fighting against the infestation if we don’t adapt and renew the medicine.
Now, I’m not saying that I think we ought to run out and make a bazillion changes to our programs or create new ones without thinking and visioning and praying this through. But I am saying, that I don’t want us to become irrelevant in the lives of teens either. I think churches and youth leaders must work together to find a happy medium for the sake of the youth of our world.