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The Distracted Generation

The Problem with This Generation

There are rumors going around about the current generation of students we are leading in churches and ministries. Maybe you’ve heard them—maybe you’ve experienced them. Rumors that they are disengaged. That they have checked out. They can’t peel their eyes away from their phones. Their worlds consist largely of what shows up on their Instagram feed.

Those are the rumors, leading us to believe that in a lot of ways, this generation is a hopeless case. To a degree, they may be true.

But what’s also true is those traits and these problems aren’t unique to students today. As much as we like to think they are, what is true of this generation was true of every generation before them. This one is no worse off than any one before.

Just Like Us

And sure, the sources of the distractions are different, but every teenager in every generation has had things competing for their attention and for their hearts and for their loyalty. And just like every distracted generation before them, this one also wrestles with questions of faith, identity, and community. As social media savvy as they are, as plugged in and fast-paced as they are, deep down, there is a steady stream of questions that no amount of cell phone use and Netflix watching will make disappear.

Questions of faith like:

  • Who is God?
  • What is God like?
  • How do I connect with God?

Questions of identity like:

  • Who was I made to be?
  • How do I become who I want to be?
  • Who does God want me to be?

And questions of community like:

  • How do I love others?
  • How do I use who I am to benefit others?
  • What is my role in God’s big story?

The fact that our students ask these things is natural. Every generation at this stage of development begins to process their faith, identify, and purpose in ways they never have before. But the fact that they are asking these things is also good news. It means they are still looking for places to begin a dialogue and to have a safe space to ask these types of questions. That there’s still time to influence them, lead them, and guide them as they work through some of life’s bigger stuff.

Not a New Message, But a New Voice

So how do we get through to them? We believe it isn’t necessarily with a new message. The same message of hope and of life offered in Jesus Christ has always and will always hold true. They don’t need a new message, but perhaps they need a new voice.

That’s where you come in as a leader. It’s why your role is so important. It’s why parents remain important, but can’t be the sole voice in a teenager’s life. And it’s also why we wrote a new student devotional experience called WIRED. Because we want to partner with you in influencing a new generation of students who love God and love others.

We believe that while this generation has a million things competing for their attention, when we point our students toward God, we can offer them the one thing that will satisfy their hearts.

WIRED was created with current teenagers in mind. It was written for all students, no matter where they are in their spiritual walk, to address the fundamentals of faith and life, and to encourage them to take these ideas and truths and make them personal.

It walks students through the ideas of:

Connecting with God: How to interact with a God we can’t see, or touch.
Loving their life: How to better understand who God made them to be.
Embracing community: How to treat the people around them and to surround themselves with the right people.
Serving others: How to use the gifts they have to make an impact on the world around them.

We know a lot is on the line during these years. We know you, as leaders, care maybe now more than ever before, about the right messages getting through. Which is why we want to partner with you so you know you aren’t alone. In your concern for students. In your love for them. In your urgency to make sure they hear the right things before they leave your care and are on their own.

Let WIRED help.

Learn More

Interested in learning more? Click HERE to read more about WIRED and download a sample.

Sarah Anderson is a writer and communicator who has been involved in ministry since 2003. In 2007, she joined Orange as a lead writer and content creator for XP3 High School curriculum. Sarah lives in Roswell, Georgia, and is a big fan of her husband, Rodney, her two boys, Asher and Pace, and, in her weaker moments, McDonald’s French fries. You can keep up with Sarah on Twitter: @sarahb_anderson

Rodney Anderson is a pastor, a writer, and a communicator who has spent 15 years in full-time ministry. He is the Multi-Campus Director of Singles at North Point Ministries, located near Atlanta, Georgia. He also partners with Orange to develop curriculum for middle and high school students. Rodney lives in Roswell, Georgia, with his wife, Sarah, his two boys, Asher and Pace, and absolutely, positively no cats. You can keep up with Rodney on Twitter: @rodney_anderson

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