“To live outside of God’s will puts us in danger; to live in His will makes us dangerous.”
~ Erwin McManus from An Unstoppable Force
Typically when someone is considered dangerous, it means they are likely to cause damage or danger to someone or something. In essence they are a threat to safety, order, and peace. As I think about it, I want to be an intentional threat, but not to safety, order, and peace. I want to be a threat to things that injure, defeat, oppress, and negatively impact lives, especially young people.
The world is full of people who play it safe. I don’t want to be one of them. I want to live my life on the edge. However, I’m not necessarily talking about “death-defying” activities, such as bungee jumping, skydiving, or wrestling wild animals (that’s for a different post). I’m talking about maximizing my full potential by utilizing my God-given abilities, talents, gifts, and resources to be a catalyst for life transformation.
I have learned over time that being a life transformation catalyst means that I must be willing to smash the status quo, i.e. standards that people and society have accepted that shouldn’t be. I can’t strive for a life of ease and comfort. I have to take risks, stretch my faith, strategically apply my giftedness, and reach out to people that others have rejected.
By living dangerously, I want to smash the status quo for youth and young adults in the areas of:
Why We Must Inspire Youth to Dream Again
What if while you were growing up no one ever encouraged you to be someone great? What if you didn't have anyone close to you say that you could do something special? What if there was never anyone around to say that you could accomplish your dreams?
If that were your experience it would probably be a pretty safe bet that you wouldn't expect much for yourself or your future. In fact, you might not even think that you have a future at all. Unfortunately, many youth feel like their lives are a lost cause and not even worth living or planning for. Why? One major reason is their hope has been lost.
Hope is a very powerful concept. With a lot of it, we feel like we can conquer the world. Without it, we feel like that world has conquered us. That's why Solomon writes in Proverbs 13:12,
"HOPE deferred makes the heart sick, but a DREAM fulfilled is a tree of life."
Having hope is a really big deal. It's not just a good feeling. It's an essential element connected to the dreams God places in the hearts of every human being in our childhood. But if those dreams are not recognized or nurtured, people end up living out what Solomon expressed in Proverbs 29:18,
"Where there is no prophetic VISION the people cast off restraint…"
Much of what I see from our young people today is connected to the fact that they are hopeless, which causes them to reject and disregard moral boundaries. Many of them have experienced so much in such a short time of life, including violence, poverty, sexual abuse, bullying, exploitation, and so on. Without divine intervention their lives will either be cut short through self-destructive activities, or they will live long lives of repeated regrets, failures, and ultimately unfulfilled potential.
A Powerful Alternative to Hopelessness
That's why we're so excited about launching Club D.A.R.E., which stands for “Dreams Are Realized Everyday.” This is a youth development movement on a mission to inspire 1 million teens to “dream B.I.G. dreams and do B.I.G. things.” We expect these B.I.G. dreams to impact their families, friends, communities, and potentially the world.
To make this happen, a core part of our strategy includes the development of:
As great as this sounds, we can't do it alone. We need your help to turn the dreams of 1 million teens into reality. You can give your tax-deductible donation at this link, which will help to fund these resources that will be launched very soon.
We are in real danger of having a lost generation of young people who have given up on life. We can't let that happen. OUR future depends on their dreams.
Please partner with us today to impact our youth. To learn more about Club D.A.R.E. go to www.clubdare.org.
The summer is over and most of the kids around the country are back in school now. Of course many of them who were able to get summer jobs used their money on new clothes, school supplies, and other things teenagers typically like to buy. Unfortunately, though, for many teenagers who are back in school, what used to be a common activity over the summer to earn income is becoming less common.
According to this article in Bloomberg Business, "at 41.3 percent, the July labor force participation rate of teens was the lowest for the month in the post-World War II period." The article goes on to say that what they believe are the three primary factors for this precipitous drop:
That also means we must be proactive in creating opportunities, such as entrepreneurship training, to equip our youth to learn these necessary skills.
Why do you think teen employment is so low? What if anything can the church do about it?
Read the entire article: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-07/why-american-teens-aren-t-working-summer-jobs-anymore
Recently I read an article online that focused on the challenges many African-American teens face in their own communities and how in the past it was taught that your education was the ticket to escape. The author was challenging that notion with some points that supported the premise that these teens should be taught how to change their communities rather thatnlook for the first chance to get out.
While I definitely agree with the overall theme in the article, one of the things that jumped out to me was the fact that this is not an issue just for African-American teens. We need to be teaching all young people across all cultures the importance of investing in the communities they grow up in while they are there.
Here are five reasons why I believe we should teach all teens focus on impact in their communities versus escaping them:
Youth are often overlooked and undervalued as community development assets. However, they are in the perfect position to become positive change agents. If we can get them to see it in themselves, maybe we can turn more communities around.
Read the full article, Teach black students they can change communities, here: http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2015/jul/07/teach-black-students-change-communities-not-escape
We had an incredible time at Inc. My Dream Young Boss Camp. Having fewer students this year which allowed us to go deeper in helping each one discover their purpose, develop their personal dream boards, and identify legitimate business ideas. We helped them craft a personal life mission statement, teambuilding skills, and daily affirmations they can use to encourage themselves and others as they grow on their journey.
What we're really excited about is that we will continue to work with these young entrepreneurs throughout the school year to help launch their initial concepts into profitable and sustainable businesses.
One thing Shawnice and I realized as this camp was coming to a close is that we are just getting started. Our ultimate job is to help as many youth as possible to see a new vision for their lives and their communities. Our job is to equip them with skills to turn their dreams into reality. Our job is to inspire their greatness, that today may only be a small flicker of light, but with the right help can become a contagious inferno of positive possibilities. Our job is to become hope dealers.
As such, we are in the process of developing some brand new resources that will help youth, parents, educators, youth pastors, and anyone else who cares about investing in the future of young people. You will be able to use these powerful tools to inspire and equip them to accomplish things they never thought was possible.
So, stay tuned for some major announcements coming in the next few weeks!
It is our privilege to serve the next generation and we hope you will come along on the ride with us.
If you're the parent of a teen or serve in youth ministry, it would wise to pay more attention to how much time they are spending on social media. A new Ottawa Public Health study suggests that teens who use social media sites for two hours or more daily are at risk for poor mental health, psychological distress and suicidal thoughts. According to a Huffington Post article reporting on the study:
Helping youth develop face to face communication skills is essential to preparing them to have healthy personal and professional relationships as adults. If we allow social media to babysit teens unattended it could have major negative consequences over time.
Finish reading the whole story here: http://atlanta.cbslocal.com/2015/07/28/study-frequent-social-media-use-may-take-toll-on-teens-mental-health/
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