The Source for Youth Ministry
Friend Me on Facebook Get in My Head Watch Me
  • Zombie Survival Guide
  • Ministry by Teenagers
  • More10Minute
  • Should I Smash My Kids Phone
Youth and Midterm Elections
High Stakes, Low Interest
David R. Smith

Two years ago on November 6, 2012, Facebook and Twitter feeds exploded with Instagram pics of “I Voted” stickers attached to millions of smiling young people. There’s another election approaching within a few days, with major implications, and many are wondering if those same throngs of young people will show up.

Eh, don't bet on it.

JONATHAN'S BLOG: I'll go as a slut
Remember when Halloween costumes were as simple as a cowboy hat and boots, or a sheet with holes poked in it? Today it’s not that simple. And if you’re a female the pressure is on… the burden to be sexy.

Mean Girls said it years ago, and today’s teens know it to be true. Halloween is the one time a year where girls have an excuse to dress like sluts.

Last night NBC’s brand new show Marry Me jested about this reality when Dennah and Annie discussed what costumes they’d wear this year:

Dennah: I’d love some feedback on my costume. Two years ago I went as a slutty nurse and then last year I was a slutty judge. But this year I’m just going to cut out the middleman and go as a slut.

Annie: We got it. You hate your parents.

Dennah: (she sulks) They’re not great.

The messages are all around us. Try shopping for Halloween costumes with your daughter... "slutty" is in. (I posted a pic on Instagram while shopping with my daughter a couple weeks ago).

Some people are taking notice. For example, Subway took some heat for their “Sexy Halloween Costume” commercial that encouraged girls, and I quote, “bikini season may be over, but there’s more reasons right around the corner to stay fit.”

The reasons? Sexy Halloween costumes. (You can read Time Magazine’s rant about that here.)img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-8646" src="" alt="Wal Mart Fat Girl Costumes" width="177" height="300" />

What if companies swing to the other extreme and encourage the full figured look? Wal Mart might have taken that a bit too far when they labeled a category, “Fat Girl Costumes.” (whoops)

Funny, some of the girls modeling those costumes were anything but full figured.

Today’s young girls must be confused. It's okay to be sexy, but don't worry about weight... right? That's exactly the message they are hearing every day. And if you don't believe me, take a peek at the music charts, and you won't have to look any further than the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart right now, Meghan Trainor’s song All About That Bass (which is one of the many big booty songs on the charts- we wrote about this in detail a few weeks ago on our Youth Culture Window page). Here’s a glimpse at the lyrics:

Yeah, it's pretty clear, I ain't no size two
But I can shake it, shake it
Like I'm supposed to do
'Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
And all the right junk in all the right places…

What are young girls hearing from this song?

On one hand, they’ll hear the positive message of not obsessing about their weight. But on the other hand, they’re encouraged to shake it like “I’m supposed to do” hoping to have “junk in all the right places” so that the boys will chase? (if you think that message is misleading, look up the No. 3 song on the charts, Bang Bang.)

So how should parents respond?

I guess I’d give the same advice that I gave a mom after one of my parent workshops this year when she confessed, “My 17-year-old daughter won’t even talk with me.”

I asked her, “Have you spent any time with her just listening to her and talking about what she wants to talk about?” Or are all your conversations, “Did you finish your homework… clean your room… do your chores?”

How much time are you devoting to just getting to know your kid?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not encouraging you to forfeit your calling as a parent and just become that fun friend parent who never teaches and never corrects. What I’m encouraging parents to do is not ONLY teach and correct.

When we spend time with our kids and build relationships with them, conversations eventually happen. Our daughters will see an ad like the controversial ones above and they’ll have an opinion. (Teenagers are overflowing with opinions!)

Do you know their opinion is?

Ask them.

Mention the APA’s report on the “Sexualization” of today’s girls, highlighting a sentence or two. Ask them:

  • Are these doctors right?

  • Where do you see examples of “sexualization”?

  • How do you think girls should respond?

  • How can you respond?img class="alignright size-full wp-image-8094" src="" alt="Get-Your-Teenager-Talking" width="150" height="204" />


Season 5, Episode 3, Four Walls and a Roof
If you open your Bible to the book of James, the author concludes his first chapter with the following verse: 27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress

Some kids are too cool to do anything.  Part peacock, part pubescent, their pride gets the best of them at almost every turn... NOT these kids.

My kids will laugh at silly jokes.  They eat Happy Meals.  They watch kiddie shows and are unashamed.  They wear cat ears, 3D glasses with the lenses taken out, and give themselves names like Batman, Nightwing, and Doctor Wolverine (that name is mine, by the way). They are nerds…to the EXTREME.  So of course, we get along JUST FINE.  

Nowhere is this hardcore geekiness more evident than at our awesome new boys group, Guys and Fries Thursday. Every week I meet a small group of junior high 6th and 7th grade guys at McDonald’s to eat french fries, play card games, and talk about important life topics. We build mountains of french fries and use ketchup packets to make them into volcanoes (or we would if the kids actually ATE KETCHUP with their fries). Last week we had an epic battle of slapjack and used the parable of the unforgiving servant to discuss the topic of forgiveness. We also went off on rabbit trails, leading to one kid talking for ten minutes about the best way to get out of a cave. After all, these are junior high school boys, so focusing is always an issue.  Many have the attention span of a 6-week-old-puppy in a field filled with butterflies.  

And that’s on a good day.        

And yet, in spite of the silliness and beneath the crazy laughter, coupled with the random card games and the nerdy times, there are real Gospel truths being presented, and barriers, like walls, that are tumbling down.  

See, some of these kids you’d never spot worshiping in the youth room at your church on a Sunday morning.  But campus ministry is a different animal altogether:  With us, atheists mingle with Christians, agnostics with Mormons, Jews with Muslims.

And that’s Youth for Christ/Campus Life at its best. That’s what we can be: A haven for people who do not know the Gospel; a place where kids can go to just be themselves. We gather representatives from various tribes, tongues, and nations together in one room to learn stories, build relationships, and point kids to Jesus Christ.  

This is just the beginning of what we’re doing here at a Sacramento suburb middle school.  In less than a school year, we’ve launched a successful weekly Monday Campus Life club, a guys group, and continue to build contacts within the community, all while maintaining a breakfast club that regularly sees an average of 120 students every Friday (we’ve written about that before in this column).

How are you reaching the campus near you?

Movie Reviews and Quick Q's:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (8/8/2014)

Posted on October 10/31/2014, 2014 at 02:40 PM
YouTube Discussion Starters:
AutoCorrect Humanity

Posted on October 10/31/2014, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Video Game Reviews @
Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale

Posted on October 10/9/2014, 2014 at 11:25 AM
Music Discussions:
All About That Bass

Posted on October 10/3/2014, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Outreach Resource of the Week RSS Feed
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Your students need to know if they’re going the right direction in life. This hilarious, but powerful resource from our MOVIE CLIP DISCUSSIONS page will help them discern that.


The Movie Clip: “You’re Going the Wrong Way!” 
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles was your classic 1980’s comedy. Neal (Martin) is the executive type, and Del (Candy), well, Del is anything but. Regardless, as Neal tries to make his way ho

Spiritual Growth Resource of the Week RSS Feed
Rolling the Dice in Life

Life hinges on the decisions we make, so we should make good decisions. That’s the foundation this terrific resource from our SPIRITUAL GROWTH AGENDAS page is built on.

Discussion Starter: Rolling the Dice in Life 
Lay out twelve index cards (in a rectangular fashion) that have a number printed on one side and a “situation” written on the other side. Make sure 

© 1999-2014 The Source for Youth Ministries           Site Disclaimer