The Next Generation and What They Need

We have an awesome Next Generation Team.

For this blog, I'll talk about our FUSION ministry to high school students. I spoke to those students this past week on the theme of GROW.

GROW is Harder Than Ever!

It is harder than ever for several reasons:

First, because the world around has become very complex and challenging. Life in 2022 is more disruptive, confusing, uncertain, ambiguous, fragmented, polarized, angry, divided, and tense than ever. This is the world students experience every day.

Second, because teens are told it is up to them to figure it all out. An enormous amount of responsibility has been placed on them in an unfair way. As all the previous places and people who could offer help have been dismissed as biased, and maybe even harmful (family, church, tradition), teens are told they have the right and responsibility to make all the important decisions about what is good, true, and right for them--and no one else can say they are wrong! That is a huge burden, which the typical teen does not know how to carry.

Third, because study after study indicates teens experience internal pain more than ever. Whether it is depression, anxiety, fear, loneliness, isolation, apathy, addiction, anger, (and many other things can be added to the list), or a combination of these things, teens have the deck stacked against them.

Fourth, the message of our culture tells them they have to be fantastic. To be awesome. To be amazing. To be different and stand out from the crowd. And above all, TO BE SUCCESSFUL. Again, studies indicate that most teens feel enormous pressure to be this.

And finally, because they don't have the resources they need.

The Search Institute and the 40 Developmental Assets

The Search Institute is an organization that specializes in studying the Next Generation and identifying the resources they need to make it through their teenage years and be healthy and prepared for young adulthood.

They developed a model called the 40 Developmental Assets. These assets are divided into two groups of 20 external assets and 20 internal assets. You can see the overview PDF I provided that is designed for adolescents ages 12-18.
When you look at that list, it is an impressive. Here are a few things to note about that list.

The more assets a teen has available to them, the higher the likelihood of making it through their teen years.

These assets are NOT automatic and many of them are not easily available for teens.

When a family system is not intact, when a student experiences economic disadvantages, and when students do not have mentors who invest in them, their adolescent journey is much harder and the outcome in jeopardy.

The growth needed is around these assets.

Parents, Teachers, Ministry Partners, and Peers

These assets come from people and from systems and organizations.

PARENTS: You are the most important resource for your teen. I know it is hard, but the call to parenting is the call to provide (at a sacrifice) the assets your teens need. But you can't do it alone--not even close.

TEACHERS: You are so valuable and I know your vocation has become so much harder. You have a calling that goes far beyond teaching. You provide many other assets students need.

MINISTRY PARTNERS: Your ministry at Living Word is a vital part of getting necessary resources to the next generation. Thank you so much for your love and your service. You have so much to offer. The 40 Assets List may give you some examples of what you can provide.

PEERS: And while I doubt few teens are reading this blog, you have more to provide than you know. A strong community of peers, working together, creates an incredible support system where mutual growth takes place.

Ministry Partners Needed

This is why we spend as much time as we can promoting the need for ministry partners for our entire Next Generation.

The children in kid::life have their needs as well.

The Next Generation matters to us at Living Word.

In addition to those who can be ministry partners, for all of us, our financial giving makes it possible for us to hire great staff and offer resources to the Next Generation.

A brand new season of Next Gen Ministry has launched at Living Word. What God has done for us, let's pay it forward into their lives.

On Behalf of the Next Gen,
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Brian Rice
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