Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I am currently reading HURT: inside the world of today's teenager by Chap Clark. I want to recommend to anyone who has teens, anyone who loves teens, people interested in students or student ministry, individuals wanting to reach younger generations, and those who are interested in influencing people for Christ. That should pretty much cover all of us, huh? You can buy it here.

I love this book and I can't stand this book for several reasons. I love it because of how he approaches youth culture and youth ministry. The book is basically his reflections, research and observations of the American teenager from the perspective of their world. He took an entire semester and with the permission of a high school in California worked as a subsitute teacher for an entire semester. The school allowed him to interview and visit with teachers and students to gather the necessary information for this book. According to Clark this type of research has never been done because usually the "experts" to some type of lengthy questionnaire to get feedback from student about the world they live in.

I don't want to spoil it for anyone who reads this book (and again I want to encourage everyone to read it) but know ahead of time that it may bother you. As I am reading I have been (and plan to continue to) ask students if what I am reading exists in Huntsville. The response so far has been a mixture of "yes" "pretty much" to "yeah, that is happening in our schools, too."

But these aren' the reasons it is bothering me. It is bothering me because it makes me have to think really hard about the youth ministry system that we have created in our churches. Are we making a difference? Are things we do really changing lives? Are students lives different when they graduate? Are they mission minded and getting involved in ministry outside of planned youth ministry events? Are we transforming people?

I think the answer is yes and no. I am not ready to throw it all in and give up because I think a difference is being made. Slowly. But when I read the world that Chap Clark describes it makes more sense why it seems like walking uphill. Students face a much different and much more difficult than ever before. While we all know this inherently, we too often are guilty of thinking that "not much has really since we were in high school. This just isn't true. It has changed dramatically and students face a more difficult struggle in pursuing faith than even before. They are HURT.

Please make plans to read this book. If you already have I would love to hear your thoughts. If you are a student, get ready because I am planning to visit with you about your thoughts as well.

Love you all.



Chris <> said...

I want to get my hands on this, too. I am intrigued with the idea, especially since these are the kids coming to college. If I am to reach out to them, I need a little bit more understanding...especially as I get older and older!! Thanks.

Robin said...

Doug I have read this book and had almost the same reaction you have had. I know there is much more to following Christ than we are communicating to kids. I see so many ways have failed with our own kids. Although I see God's goodness inspite of our failure. I would love to start praying with some people about the direction God wants us to go.

Doug Page said...

I would love to get a group together to begin actively praying for students! I think this is actually what I need -the support- because alone it is overwhelming.

I was telling Lana that it makes me wonder if all we do is put band-aids on wounds instead of actually healing the wound. I mean not that camps, mission trips, youth conferences, etc aren't wonderful but are events don't transform people. God transforms people. And I believe he does this by pouring the Spirit into us as we pour ourselves into others.

Let's think seriously and act swiftly about this. Any more thoughts?