The challenge of our day is at times daunting. In spite of the comforts of living in a first world nation and the speed of our technology advancement, we are still attempting to solve a host of social dilemmas.
Pain is not going extinct. Loneliness is on the rise. Fear is far from being eradicated. Divisiveness is more prevalent than ever. Regardless of how much we earn or how much we learn, we are constant in our uncertainty about how to respond to the twenty-first century challenges.
One of the most controversial challenges of our day is the attempt to get consensus on how we should instruct and influence the demographic of young people between the ages of twelve and twenty-five. Influence comes from many sources, but it all seems to travel the same highway of technology.
Our youth are bombarded on a regular basis by social media and mobile platforms that stream unbridled sounds and images. The mixture of modern technology and elaborate entertainment has made millions for the creators but created a culture of co-dependence.
My daughter’s first word was “mama,” and her second word was “dada” but her third word was “Ipad.” Once, while waiting for a seat at a nice restaurant, my daughter was given a small “Etch-a-Sketch” to keep her occupied. I watched her try to move the ink by running her finger across the small screen rather than using the knobs. Soon, she handed it to me and said, “This thing is broke.”
The question that confronts us all is what is broke? Is it the youth that are destined to malfunction or have we handed them a system that is void of meaning and purpose? We cannot inoculate our youth from the world that changes on a daily basis, but we also have a responsibility to couple the teaching of morality with the purchase of modern technology.
The paradox of our day is that while we seem focused on the plight of a youth culture that appears to be out of control, the spiritual hunger of our young people is at an all-time high. The youth may be finding the answer as we ponder the question!
Recently, in Oklahoma City at the Chesapeake Energy arena, 20,000 young people gathered. The stage was in a rotunda and theater lights created a climate of expectation but it was not the high quality of technology that turned this gathering into an epic event, it was the spiritual pursuit and shout of the young people in the stands that got the attention of the folks at the Guinness book of World Records.
It was recorded that as the young people prayed and shouted unto God, the noise reached a decibel level of 134.2. This was possibly the loudest of any gathering of any size in an indoor arena. Is this a glimpse of young people who have embraced spiritual tenacity rather than moral decline?
The First Pentecostal Church in Palm Bay, one of the largest evangelical congregations in Palm Bay, is hosting an event on Friday night, Oct. 9th called youthQuake. This annual event draws students by the hundreds all across Florida. Students gather in a facility of lights and sounds that is indicative of the culture that they share with their peers, but yet there is something distinctly different.
The music is different. The expressions are different. The body language indicates they are expecting something great rather than the dread of obligatory attendance. In short there is a hunger and a pursuit that is palpable.
Fresh from the success of Oklahoma City’s North American Youth Congress, Youth President Michael Ensey of the United Pentecostal Church International will be ministering Friday night at 8:00pm and Saturday morning at 11:00am.
You can register online and receive additional information at www.youthquakeFL.com. Registration includes all sessions, Bible study guide, media drop card and admission to AfterShock, an after service late night party of pizza, recreation, music, games and good clean fun.
The 2015 theme of this youth gathering in Palm Bay is “Deep Calleth” and perhaps that theme is reflective of the underground youth culture that is growing every day. Called to do something more than just consume. Called to the deep waters of sacrifice and commitment. Called to a higher cause.
Pastor David Myers