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Who Is the Most Influential Teenager of All Time?

In the April 2015 edition of The Atlantic, the editors asked several well-known people this question: “Who is the most influential teenager of all time?” Here are some of their responses:

Emmett Till: a 14-year old African-American boy who was murdered in 1955 for whistling at a white woman. His death inspired others to fight racism.

Joan of Arc: the legendary French girl who led an army against the English in the Middle Ages.

Anne Frank: the Jewish girl who hid in a secret room in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) in the Second World War. She was betrayed and died in Bergen-Belsen, leaving behind a diary that inspired millions.

Elvis Presley: no further words needed.

Nero: the cruel Roman emperor who rose to power at age 16.

David: teen David slayed the giant Goliath, thus changing the course of history for Israel.

Mark Zuckerberg: started Facebook when he was still a teen.

It’s an interesting question for sure. I would have mentioned the disciples perhaps, most of whom were still teens when Jesus started His ministry. Or Mary, the mother of Jesus, who was still a teenager when she gave birth to the Savior. Or George Washington, who began working as a land surveyor as a young teen. And we may not like them or their music, but there have certainly been influential teen pop stars: Justin Bieber, One Direction, Miley Cyrus.

A fun topic to discuss with your small group some time … and make them realize that teens can change the world.  


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Rachel Blom has been involved in youth ministry in different roles since 1999, both as a volunteer as on staff. She simply loves teens and students and can't imagine her life without them. In youth ministry, preaching and leadership are her two big passions. Her focus right now is providing daily practical training through www.YouthLeadersAcademy.com to help other youth leaders grow and serve better in youth ministry. She resides near Munich in the south of Germany with her husband and son. You can visit Rachel at www.YouthLeadersAcademy.com