Christian Teens in America: What’s Our Generation All About?
Here we are. We’re between fourteen and eighteen years old and our expectation from the world right now is to finish high school and get into a good college to impact our world. But, while the world wants us to make a splash, it does not give us a list of “do’s and don’ts” to stay affloat as we navigate the years of high school and college. Sure, they expect mistakes, some careless actions, and even a little pain along the way…
But what about Christian teens in America? What does the world expect from us? What’s our generation all about, anyway? Now, that’s a good question and to that, we would say, we’re different. Do we follow the latest trend? Sure, sometimes, but we don’t let them define us. We’re under construction—in the process of becoming who and what God has designed us to be. That’s not to say that we’re perfect, because we’re not. Only one Man in history has been able to accomplish that. And although most of us try to model Him, many times we fall flat on our faces. But the good thing is, we are not stuck there. Even though…
The world is looking on. Waiting for us to fall. And yet, while they point at our mistakes, they sometimes justify them as, “not as bad as what else is out there.” While that may be true, we know God’s standards have so much more expectation for us. Whether our niche is playing sports, drawing, singing, dancing, or acting, our soul desire is to please the One whose desire is for us. Everything we do, points to Him.
“I Will Follow You,” a song by Chris Tomlin says: “Who You love, I’ll love, how You serve, I’ll serve, If this life I loose, I will follow You.” Truly walking with the Lord affects every aspect of our life. As His desires become our desires we find ourselves becoming different—a God immersed generation, as some would call us. But just in case you didn’t know, generation-naming is not our thing. We don’t like to be labeled. We do believe that Jesus is our hero and He makes us into the people He wants us to be.
Many of us are the product of a generation who made some mistakes along the way but found the right path before they became our parents. They sought to make a different life for us—and here we are, at CCA. They have encouraged us to explore our interests and talents. To seek the Lord with all our hearts, to pray, to honor Him with our gifts. Yet, some of us, a big chunk of our generation, don’t know Christ. They wear a fine mask, hiding behind the label of Christianity, but theirs is a frustrated, disillussioned, and worried world. Thankfully, for all of us, we attend a Christian school, where we are encouraged to be real—with our faith, with our words, with each other. The hope is that we do more than simply talk about it, the hope is that we live it. That we don’t turn into a generation that totally missed it—missed Him and were
There is also a light side of us. With our friends, we joke, poke fun at each other just because we can, and still love them despite their faults, as well as our own. With our parents, we respect and obey them (most of the time)—with the knowledge that they do the things they do to prepare us, working for our future. And with a significant other, we cherish and appreciate them for who they are, for what we love and admire them for. We are called, whether it seems arduous, strenuous, or even unfeasible at times; to persevere through any disagreement, misunderstanding, or fight with someone close to our hearts.
In school, we work to achieve. Grades. Homework. Quizzes. Tests. Exams. Report cards. PSATs. SATs. GPAs. Entrance exams. College. Everything is for a purpose. But prepping for the future isn’t our only goal when accomplishing our daily bucket-load of schoolwork. In everything we do, we do it for the glory of the Lord. A simple commandment, but one that commands much from His disciples. This is what gives us success, and this is what gives us purpose as we live in a world that has a hard time figuring out which side is up.
Our school life is not only about academics and neither are we. We pour out, essentially, our hearts and creativity into the extracurricular: athletics, clubs, and the arts. The feel of fresh paint under our fingernails, brush in hand; the reverberation of a lingering note as the final chord is struck; the glimmer of the spotlight in our eyes, and the relief and pride as the curtains draw close on an epic performance; the rush of adrenaline after the completion of a perfect pass; or satisfaction as the ball slides into the hoop—nothing but net. All purposing for God to be exalted through our talents, for all things.
The lives of Christians in the Next Generation may not be simple or easy, but if it were, there wouldn’t be a need to be different than what the world expects us to be. That’s the word: we’re different. We’re children of God. And because we are, we labor to be extraordinary. If you must label us, that’s the best line.