Every time a student goes online, leaves the house, is at school, hanging with friends—in fact, every time they pull out their cell phone, western culture is working overtime to shape and influence their lives on every level. No matter how many shelters or training camps we create, we can't prevent it—even if for a time. So what we know about culture and how we teach students is more important than ever.
Discipling our students requires us to be keenly aware of the digital self that lies behind that student who sits every week in the third row, second seat on the left, the student in the front row who has all the answers, or the quiet kid in back row you see once a month. There is a deeper story to our students than most of us ever imagined possible. But the story is told in places some of us never venture to.
This generation has a greater sense of urgency to reach out and seek justice for the poor, broken, and marginalized. Embrace it. Not only will your students have a better grasp on the gospel and their culture, they will be people with truly changed lives seeking to change lives.
The rising generation is not the future of the church, they are the church. Right now.
I constantly battle my tendency to carefully wrap my kids in bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and clearly mark the package fragile. It is a trend that is setting our students up for failure. We are preparing the road for our children rather than preparing our children for the road ahead. As a result, we are raising a generation obsessed with safety.