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Awakening the Sleeping Giant by Focusing on Teenagers

mentoring teens

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Admiral Yamamoto, leader of the Japanese forces, was asked about how he felt. His answer was stark, “I am fearful that all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with terrible resolve.”

It is time to awaken the sleeping giant in the church (called “teenagers”) and fill them with holy resolve.

But, with so many age demographics in the typical church, why should we focus on reaching teenagers?

1. God has a track record of choosing teenagers to accomplish great spiritual feats.

From Joseph, to Timothy, to Esther (who won a beauty contest then saved a nation), God has used young people in big ways to do even bigger things.

In 1 Samuel 16 when the prophet Samuel goes to the house of Jesse, it’s not the strapping, strutting older brothers of the house that God chooses to be king. It’s the underage runt of the litter that got anointed as the future leader of Israel. One chapter later, this kid named David, who was delivering cheese and crackers to his older brothers in the war, got ticked off that a nine foot giant was talking smack against the God of Israel. His anger left an impression on Goliath…a deep one.

But its not just in the Old Testament that God demonstrates his predisposition to choose and use teenagers. For the most part Jesus mostly picked teenagers to be his disciples. In Matthew 17, when Jesus, Peter and the disciples go into Capernaum, only Peter and Jesus pay the temple tax (although all of the disciples are there!). According to Exodus 30:14 the temple tax was only applicable to those 20 years old and older. If I’m reading that right, that means that Jesus was a youth leader with only one adult sponsor…and one really rotten kid.

And God used this “youth group” to reach the world! He can use yours to do the same!

2. God receives glory when the “foolish things of the world” confound the wise.

1 Corinthians 1:26-29 makes this crystal clear, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”

If this passage is not a case for working with teenagers I don’t know what is. Teenagers are foolish, goofy and hyper. I love it! God loves it! He wants to use them as twitchy revolutionaries to change the course of nations and to launch a global awakening of biblical proportions just like his Son did 2,000 years ago!

Last week we had hundreds of teenagers at our Chicago Lead THE Cause. It was outstanding! Not only were these teens trained and equipped in intercessory prayer and evangelism, they were unleashed to do it! These teenagers braved the elements to reach the people of Chicago with the Gospel in exciting and love-drenched (and rain drenched) ways. God did a mighty work. The same thing is happening this week in Austin, Texas.

God is raising up an army of underestimated “foolish things” to confound the wise and advance his kingdom in unprecedented ways!

3. It just makes sense.

Teenagers are wet cement. They form to the forms layed out for them. While working with adults is definitely important, sometimes a jackhammer and wheelbarrow is required before the wet cement can be poured in their souls.