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Youth Culture Today is a 60-second daily audio feature that will help equip adults to better understand and respond to the complex and rapidly changing world of their children and teens, all from a distinctively Christian perspective. For youth ministry resources be sure to check out CPYU.org or our friends at SimplyYouthMinistry.com who make this show possible. Tell them Walt sent you!
 
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Recent research tells us that about half of our eleven to twenty-one year old girls regularly alter their photos to enhance their appearance online in order to find acceptance. Researchers also tell us that our girls are much more likely to experience anxiety and depression than their male peers. What are cultural forces that are shaping and even m…
 
I once heard someone say that judging from how Christians choose to live these days, the ten commandments God gave to Moses should be relabeled as the 10 suggestions. That’s certainly justified when it comes to the fourth commandment which tells us to remember and keep a Sabbath. Who does that anymore? Our kids have no idea what is means to Sabbath…
 
Have you seen the comical T-Shirt based on the 1985 movie Back To The Future? It depicts the absent-minded Doc instructing young Marty McFly, “Whatever you do Marty, don’t go to 2020!” This has been a very strange year. All of us have had multiple challenges to navigate. In the midst of it all, youth culture marches on as does our responsibility to…
 
Welcome to Youth Culture Matters, a podcast from the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding. We’re taking a short break from recording new episodes, so for the next few weeks of summer we’ll be highlighting episodes from our archive. Today's episode is a discussion about intergenerational prayer and the "Pray For Me" campaign. Listen in to a replay …
 
Welcome to Youth Culture Matters, a podcast from the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding. We’re taking a short break from recording new episodes, so for the next few weeks of summer we’ll be highlighting episodes from our archive. Today's episode is an encouraging conversation with Pastor Scotty Smith. Listen in to a replay of Episode 29: "Prayer…
 
Welcome to Youth Culture Matters, a podcast from the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding. We’re taking a short break from recording new episodes, so for the next few weeks of summer we’ll be highlighting episodes from our archive. Today's episode is a look back at a discussion with Dr. Virginia Ward on the topic of racial inequality and youth min…
 
Welcome to Youth Culture Matters, a podcast from the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding. We’re taking a short break from recording new episodes, so for the next few weeks of summer we’ll be highlighting episodes from our archive. Today’s episode begins with some fun banter about baseball, appropriate with the 2020 season about to get underway, a…
 
Earlier this week I read this short and gut-wrenching Facebook post from a friend: Today she would have turned 20. All that we wonder and all the ache that we feel melding into one vast teardrop. It’s saltiness stinging the souls and staining the pages of the lives of those she left behind. My friends teenage daughter took her own life a few years …
 
I wonder how history will remember the first half of 2020? We would all agree that so far, one of the biggest stories centers on the Coronavirus pandemic, and our culture’s efforts to reckon major changes to everyday life. One aspect of our retreat from physical presence has been a movement into engaging with others in digital space, for everything…
 
If all goes as planned, our nation should continue to open up over the coming weeks and months. We’ve been removed from being physically present at our jobs, our schools, our churches, and our familiar social settings. We all are longing to return to a more normal coronavirus-free life. One big question mark remains regarding schooling when the sum…
 
I’m guessing that for all of us, these last few weeks have been filled with the hopeful expectation that we will soon be coming out of our quarantines and getting back to life as normal. For those of us in youth ministry, we can’t wait to once again meet face to face with our kids. As we get ready to head back, we can’t forget the many lessons we’v…
 
We’re all looking forward to the day when the stay at home order is lifted and the country is opened again. The Coronavirus pandemic has changed everything in our lives, including the way that we do youth ministry. As the pandemic has unfolded, more and more youth workers are dialoguing on what youth ministry will look like when this is all over. W…
 
The Coronavirus quarantine has changed just about everything in our lives. That’s certainly true for our kids as well. While they have already been spending several hours a day engaged with their smartphones, the stay-at-home order and school shut-downs have given them more time to fill with their eyes on their screens. One of the dangers is that t…
 
Over the years I’ve learned that difficulty and suffering serve us in positive ways when they peel away the layers of distraction that keep us from thinking about the things that really matter. Suffering and difficulty are great teachers. Dr. Carl Trueman believes that our current pandemic is doing us a favor by offering us a window into realizing …
 
As we navigate the unfolding realities of the COVID-19 epidemic, many are raising legitimate concerns about how well our kids and their families are dealing with the associated fears and anxieties. Mental health experts are developing models regarding mental health curves once this crisis is over. Youth workers and parents are called and positioned…
 
All of us find ourselves navigating some difficult and trying times. The current global health crisis has led to lots of soul-searching as we think about an uncertain future. No doubt, our anxiety levels are high. For the Christian, understanding and handling anxiety has to happen from the perspective of the biblical narrative as opposed to the cul…
 
We would agree that the past few weeks have been like none we’ve ever experienced before. The Coronavirus pandemic is changing everything about how we live. And while the coronavirus is a problem, it has also created huge youth ministry opportunities that we can’t miss. The fact that our kids are living in fear, anxiety, and uncertainty means that …
 
As youth workers, it is our high calling and high privilege to teach, speak, and preach God’s word to our students. With the Psalmist, we know that God’s Word is a lamp for the feet of our students and a light on their path as they navigate a difficult and confusing world. As teachers, speakers, and preachers who share God’s word from up front, in …
 
Whether you find yourself out in public, or in the privacy of your own home, chances are that when you are in the presence of others, many of them have their eyes focused on their smartphone screens. Our lives are so focused on our phones that we are seeing the breakdown of relationships, attention spans, and critical thinking. What would happen if…
 
These days, I’m hearing fewer and fewer pastors, school-teachers, and youth workers praising parents for doing a great job with their kids. And more and more I’m reading research that laments the loss of absolutes, the lack of discipline, and increase in entitlement, and the decline in mental health among our children and teens. One of the clear ca…
 
Kids and adults alike have been hammered with the idea that we are to seize the day. Sadly, how we understand and live out carpe diem is that we live in the moment, with little regard for the past and not much thought at all about the future. Our homes and youth ministries should be places where this notion is challenged, as we endeavor to become a…
 
Because all of us have been created by God and given the good gift of our gender and sexuality, we all live out what can be called our personal sex story. How we choose to live out our gender and sexuality hinges on what larger narrative we choose for our lives. In today’s world, the culture tells us that we should live within a narrative focused o…
 
If there’s been a rising chorus of lament over young people in the church, it’s been the rate at which young people are graduating from high school and leaving the church. For several years now, research projects have identified this post high school exodus as a growing concern. But in their recently released book, David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock s…
 
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Christian parents and youth workers over the years, it’s that they want the best for their kids. One area where many of us have struggled to teach God’s best is in the area of God’s grand and glorious gift of sex and sexuality. That struggle has played out in the church in a variety of ways, including the fac…
 
Do you remember the old 1981 song from the band Loverboy? "Everybody’s working for the weekend" is how the familiar chorus goes. If you think about it, that chorus really captures how we’ve come to think about and engage in work. In today’s world, work is functionally seen as drudgery, or even as an unpleasant activity that’s necessary for no other…
 
If you’ve been watching NFL games this fall, you’ve no doubt noticed the amount of attention being paid to hits on defenseless players, helmet-to-helmet tackles, and dangerous blows to the head. It seems like a growing number of fines and suspensions are being dished out. This is all part of our growing knowledge regarding the dangers of sub-concus…
 
In recent weeks, the news cycle has been filled with conversations about forgiveness. These conversations were started when the 18 year old brother of Botham Jean forgave the woman who killed his brother, convicted policewoman Amber Guyger and embraced her in the courtroom. What is forgiveness? And how and when should we forgive? Here in our local …
 
If you attended church this week, you no doubt sang. If you are running a youth group, you most likely get your students singing. And maybe your time at home or in the car is time spent listening to what is called worship music. In recent years, there have been mounting debates about what music is the best worship music. Are the new songs too shall…
 
The summer of 2019 has come to an end. If you’re like most, you were able to take some time off and enjoy a vacation. But youth culture didn’t take a break over the summer. What are some of the summer youth culture trends we should be aware of, track , and respond to? Do any of these developments offer us insights into our kids, what they believe, …
 
When it comes to our calling to love God and love neighbor, one of the most heated discussions taking place in the culture at large and in the church these days is how to fulfill this calling in response to the LGBTQ issue. If you’re like me, you wonder about how to navigate these unfolding realities in our homes, our youth groups, and our relation…
 
Since the advent of YouTube, I’ve met several teenagers who are engaging in self-promotion in order to develop their celebrity-presence and build a growing following. In recent months, there’s been growing conversation about the potential pitfalls related to pastors and youth workers who self-promote and pursue celebrity status. What is self-promot…
 
When was the last time that you pondered, if ever, the architecture and layout of your church building or youth room? And, does architecture and layout even matter? Should our spaces be purely utilitarian in nature? Or, should they serve an even greater purpose? Winston Churchill once said, “First we shape our buildings, and then our buildings shap…
 
Insecurity is a painful reality that all human beings struggle with. In today’s social media saturated world, the ever-present insecurities gnawing away at our teens are amplified. According to author and youth worker John Perritt, there is a healthy and greater fear that can drown out this lesser fear that we call insecurity. It is by living in th…
 
It wasn’t until the late 1960s and early 1970s that the term Transgender was first coined and used. In today’s world, the word sits front and center on our collective cultural consciousness as more and more people are referring to themselves as transgender, and as transgender activism intensifies. The reality is, more and more gender dysphoric kids…
 
In her book, American Girls, Nancy Jo Sales writes these sobering words regarding what it’s like to grow up as a girl in today’s youth culture: “The constant seeking of likes and attention on social media seems for many girls to feel like being a contestant in a never-ending beauty pageant in which they forever performing to be please the judges.” …
 
Where have all the good men gone? We’re hearing more and more young women lament the lack of mature Godly men. One says, “The guys I dated were more like the kids I babysat than the dads who drove me home.” Research and observation increasingly point to the fact that it is taking longer and longer for our boys to mature into responsible, Godly manh…
 
A recent headline from the Barna Group reads, “Almost half of practicing Christian millennials say evangelism is wrong.” The Barna group has been conducting research on the faith-sharing experiences and expectations of Christians and non-Christians alike. And it seems that many millennials now believe that it’s wrong to share their faith. Join us a…
 
If you’re active on social media, you know that not a day goes by without someone posting an article or news story which sparks sometimes heated disagreement and discussion over one of the many issues related to life and sexuality. Discussions center on topics like abortion, euthanasia, gender, and marriage. The reality is that even in the church d…
 
Our youth sports culture is broken. That was the headline for a recent op-ed piece in the Port Huron Michigan Times Herald. Written by a highly-respected high school wrestling coach, the article has gone viral, drawing accolades from educators, coaches, parents, and youth workers. Even though we all live in this sports-worshiping North American cul…
 
The Scriptures tell us with great clarity that all human beings have been made by God, in the image of God, and for a relationship with God. But the reality of life in our post-fall world has left everything broken, including all human beings. This brokenness touches us all deeply, but in a variety of different ways. This includes the many types of…
 
Before he ascended into heaven, Jesus issued what is now known as the Great Commission. He commanded his followers in all times and all places to go into the world and make disciples. That task follows our efforts to communicate the good news of the Gospel. Do our youth ministry efforts reflect a commitment to obedience to this command of Christ? W…
 
Four years ago, the band Twenty-One Pilots released a hit song focusing on the pressures of adulthood and a yearning to return back to the relatively easy years of childhood. Title Stressed Out, the song went to number one on the mainstream music charts. But judging from what we’re hearing from researchers, parents, youth workers, educators, and ki…
 
Plato once said that “music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” While you might argue with the particulars of Plato’s words, you have to agree that music has power. And there’s no question that Scripture has influenced music since the first ever song was penned. Poet, author, and rock …
 
Every now and then, a film comes along that offers a helpful, realistic, and compelling peek into the world of contemporary adolescence. The recent film, Eighth Grade, is a movie follows the last week of middle school before thirteen-year-old Kayla graduates and moves on to high school. It’s a good one that covers all kinds of issues including iden…
 
Over the course of the last few years, youth workers and parents have been increasingly lamenting the exodus of kids from the church once they graduate from high school and launch into the next phase of life. A growing volume of research is offering ideas on why this is happening, and solutions designed to reverse this trend. Why is it that our kid…
 
We live in a marketing saturated world. When we engage with an average of 4,000 to 10,000 marketing messages a day, we become unaware of both the presence of marketing in our lives, and the power of marketing to shape our beliefs and behaviors. And for our vulnerable kids who are in the midst of growth and change, marketing is an especially powerfu…
 
Youth ministry has always needed to adapt and adjust to changes in the mainstream culture. With the advent of the metoo movement and our growing knowledge of the nature and extent of sexual abuse, youth workers must be thinking about how to best engage with students in ways that lead to healthy relationship building. Is it ever proper to give a stu…
 
Thomas Chisholm wrote the classic hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness, as a testimony to God’s enduring love. The hymn calls to mind the words of the prophet Jeremiah in Lamentations 3: "I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I…
 
It seems that you can’t watch the news or go online these days without encountering stories related to matters of gender and sexual identity. The conversations on these matters are progressing into unmarked territory that can leave parents and youth workers confused, and even paralyzed in terms of how to respond. In recent weeks, a new study has em…
 
Summer’s over and a new youth ministry season is here. If you’re a youth worker, your youth group schedule is ramping up and you’ve no doubt been planning. . . or should be planning. . . your teaching and ministry schedule for the coming school year. So let me ask you, have you done your youth ministry planning? What goals, objectives, and prioriti…
 
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