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Making Sense of the Madness
Helping Teens Develop a Biblical Worldview Amidst the Chaos
David R. Smith

A couple of devastating hurricanes. Escalating racial tensions. The death of an international pornographer. And a mass shooting. Endless questions have been raised on these events. 

Do your teenagers have the right answers? In short, do they know how to think theologically...
JONATHAN'S BLOG: Police Detective Interviews Me About Teen's Most Pressing Risks
This summer my friend Sean McDowell introduced me to a police detective at a recent conference we all spoke at, and the three of us got a chance to hang out and talk about engaging young people in today’s culture, and what that actually looks like. Fascinating conversation.

His name is J. Warner Wallace. He’s a homicide detective who cares about young people and wants them to know the truth in a world overflowing with lies. He’s written several books and speaks nationwide.

Jim (that’s his real name) read my new book to teens about wise posting in an insecure world, and interviewed me about the risks young people are taking with their devices.

Here’s just a snippet:

J. Warner:
Jonathan I see you as one of the foremost experts and important voices in youth ministry today. Were you seeing something in the lives of students that prompted you to write this book? Why, of all the topics you could (and have) written about, did you decide to write this book now?


Jonathan:
Great question, and the answer is because over three quarters of teenagers now have smartphone, yet very few people are engaging them in conversations about developing wise decision-making skills with this device. Most teens are learning lessons the hard way. They post a pic and regret it later. They use an app that brags “the pics disappear” and they interpret that as freedom from accountability. A screenshot later, they realize the post wasn’t as temporary as they thought it was.


It happens all the time. Boy asks girl to send a sexy pic. Girl sends pic. Girl and boy break up. Next thing you know, boy sends pic to the whole school with the caption, “What a whore!” Girl is devastated. Every high school has at least one story like this. Principals deal with this kind of drama continually. It’s why a whole generation of young people resonated with the Netflix Series, 13 Reasons Why. It mirrored much of what they saw in real life. If only parents were engaging their kids in conversations about these real-life situations.


J. Warner:
Parents aren’t engaging their kids in these conversations. Perhaps they feel ill equipped. Is that why you address parents specifically in the beginning of a book written to teenagers—an interesting approach, by the way—briefly giving advice to the “caring parent or adult” who bought this book for the teen they care about?


Jonathan:
Exactly. The book is for teenagers, but the publisher and I know that it’s typically Mom, Dad, or Grandma who buys the book for the teenager and says, “Here, you should read this!” In fact, I’ve already been hearing lots of parents call this book their new “phone contract” their kids have to read before they get a smartphone. But yes, I addressed parents quickly at the beginning to answer some of the daunting questions they have, like what age should my kids get a phone, or what parental controls should I use? So I answer those quickly, and then encourage them to use the book as a tool to engage their kids in conversation about this important subject. In other words, don’t just hand your kid this book, use the discussion questions at the end of each chapter to ask them, “What did you think about this Chapter on Snapchat?”


J. Warner:
Great chapter, by the way. So what do you think is the one most pressing risk you see for students and their use of social media?


Jonathan:
I’ll answer that by summarizing several chapters into one soundbyte: think before you press SEND. So much of where kids get into trouble is when they snap a pic, send a tweet or post a comment without giving it any thought whatsoever. Their pic gets circulated more than they thought, their tweet gets misinterpreted and their comment starts a fight. We need to teach our kids to pause before they post.


J. Warner:
That’s a nice soundbite.


Jonathan:
Ha. Thank you. Parents need to help their kids consider the permanence of their posts (again with the alliteration). They need to begin to understand: nothing you post is temporary. So don’t post anything you don’t want your principal, Grandma, your future boss… and Jesus seeing (Jesus is on Instagram, you know).


J. Warner:
What would you say to parents who are concerned their kids are spending too much time on Social Media?


CLICK HERE FOR THE REST OF THIS INTERVIEW


CLICK HERE FOR THE BOOK,
THE TEEN’S GUIDE TO SOCIAL MEDIA AND MOBILE DEVICES

I WANT TO READ MORE

Season Seven, Episode Sixteen, The First Day of the Rest of Your Life
by Thom McKee Who would you rather be, Negan or Rick? Think about it. Negan has pretty much everything he wants, including immense power and access to most of the material things that people only enjoyed before the Zombie apocalypse.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE

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OUTREACH RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
Prince of Persia

Want a great resource to show your kids the Gospel? Check out this terrific resource from our MOVIE CLIP DISCUSSIONS page that talks about being adopted by God.


The Movie Clip: Street Rat to Prince 
Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) is adopted by a Persian king and has his life forever changed. But after leading an attack on a city thought to be harboring weapons for enemies, Dastan comes across a dagger that allows its user to travel through time. It’s a race across the kingdom to prevent the powerful weapon 


Spiritual Growth Resource of the Week RSS Feed
SPIRITUAL GROWTH RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
Wire Cutters

Here’s a stirring resource from our YOUTUBE DISCUSSIONS page that will teach your students about the hidden dangers of greed.

 

The Discussion Starter: Wire Cutters 

This short film is nothing short of brilliant! The 9-minute-long silent video shows the story of two gem-collecting robots that accidentally meet on the surface of a planet and realize they can accomplish more together than they can independently. But not long after their partnership i