The Next Generation

It is weird to think about sometimes, but I’m twice as old (or older) as some high-schoolers nowadays.

There are many things that have changed over the course of 15-20 years or so since I was in middle/high-school.

Instead of texting, I rode my bike to the neighbors’ house to see if my friend was home.

Instead of Googling, I flipped open my parents’ Encyclopaedia Britannicas or went to the library.

Instead of Facebooking a girl, I actually went up and talked to her.

(Okay, who am I kidding… I didn’t talk to girls. HA!)

Photo credit: Iman Al-Dabbagh (Creative Commons)

Along with many of the differences between now and then, I am certain one thing hasn’t changed since I was in high-school: the impact that an adult leader can have in a student’s life.

Thinking back on yesterday’s ‘announcement‘, I couldn’t help but come back to think about the ways I am striving to impact the next generation of student leaders.

Yes, I help serve with 10th/11th grade guys on Sunday mornings, but what am I doing to speak life into their lives right now to show them that there is a God that loves them right now.

When I was in high-school (and even in college) I personally experienced the power of someone investing in my life — someone outside of my family who valued me, wanted to see me succeed, and desired my faith in God to grow.

So the question remains: what do I need to do?

Grab a bite to eat? Show them God’s love? Send an encouraging text?  Cheer them on at their football game?

Right now I’m challenged with probably a combination of all of the above.

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In what way can you impact the next generation right now?

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Thinking about ways to cohesively align with Orange’s vision, I will occasionally be blogging (and tweeting #thinkorange) with ‘The Next Generation’ in mind. I encourage you to do the same. Additionally, I will be blogging during the Orange Conference 2012. If you plan on being there, please let me know!

21 Comments

  • bill (cycleguy)

    February 8, 2012

    Dustin: as the pastor of a church without a full-time youth pastor, I try to make an effort to go to games, swim meets, plays, etc that our young people are involved in. I don’t know if it is having an impact or not (they don’t talk much these days, especially to old fogies), but that is one way I am trying to make a difference in the next gen. I didn’t have that. if i was going to Orange would let you know because would love to meet you but it is not in my “works” this year.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 9, 2012

      that’s great- my wife and i agree that that is a great way to show that they matter!

      Reply
  • Loren Pinilis

    February 8, 2012

    This has been something I’ve been thinking about lately too. We have such a tremendous potential for impact with people who are at that formative stage in their life. It may not seem like a big deal to us, but I wonder how it could matter in the long run.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 9, 2012

      exactly right – thanks for sharing, loren

      Reply
  • Tom

    February 8, 2012

    Great thought! I am there in a particular situation with a young man needing a father figure, financial assistance and more. Praying God uses me to provide what I can while showing him life lessons and the power of doing what God places on our hearts. What can I do today? Thanks Dustin!!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 9, 2012

      That’s so cool that you’re investing in a younger person’s life – i’m sure it means so much to him

      Reply
  • Luther Wesley

    February 8, 2012

    Working in kidm and as a small group leader in our really small church I get to see both ends of the spectrum….the life and zeal of the youngs ones who are open and ready to learn…and the older ( not necessarily old ) members who were not discipled when they were younger.

    WE MUST teach them, pour into them an awe and wonder for God, model faithfulness before them, and be real through it all. Let them see our warts ( within reason ) and allow them to know that we are not perfect, but that God is molding us into who HE would have us to be.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 9, 2012

      i think that’s it – showing them that we’re just humans, learning, not perfect… just trying to discover how big our God really is

      Reply
  • Moe

    February 8, 2012

    Jesus told his disciples “greater things than these you will do”. I truly believe our next generation can do the same. Their potential, wisdom, tools that they will have far outweigh ours. What we can do is invest in them, and as my post today… trust them. Trust is an amazing motivator.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 9, 2012

      Loved your thoughts on trust- never really thought of it from that angle before.

      Reply
  • Jon

    February 8, 2012

    I believe you hit the nail on the head. It’s about the little things that you can do–grab a bite to eat, help someone with an assignment, etc; those things show that you care, and that’s really what it’s all about. I definitely need to do more of this. Thanks for sharing, man!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 9, 2012

      Kinda like involving them in our everyday lives, huh? :)

      Reply
  • Jason Vana

    February 8, 2012

    I always get a laugh anytime I try to explain to my college students how life was different when I was in college. We barely even had cell phone then. There was no wifi, and Myspace was the popular (and close to only) social media network. Times definitely have changed fast.

    As for your question, I invest in the next generation all the time. I don’t say it to brag, because that’s not my heart, but working with young people is my calling and passion. Not only am I leading Ignite and all that implies, but I’m also starting a training program with our Student Rep to the Board. One of my dreams is to have a ministry training school of some kind, so students who come through Ignite and feel the call of God on their lives, can receiving ministry training and possibly even be ordained (years down the road) and able to start churches after they graduate. Obviously, it won’t start at that level, but we’re working through (by doing, not just planning) what it looks like right now for a student who has a passion for ministry to start receiving training. I’m really pumped about it!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 9, 2012

      that’s really cool jason – and i think it’s evident in your life. the words you right, the message you convey… it all speaks to what you just said right here. thanks!

      Reply
  • ThatGuyKC

    February 8, 2012

    I think a wise mentor to pour into your life is essential at any age.

    Right now I’m impacting the next generation by working hard at being a good father and leading a men’s group focused on the journey to being a great dad (inspired by the movie Courageous).

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 9, 2012

      About your first line … Wow, what a thought. Even as an adult/father/grandfather… we all need someone investing in us.

      Reply
  • Ben Reed

    February 8, 2012

    I just crafted an intern-type program for our church to help the next generation get strong local church training…and a theological training through seminary as well. Pretty stoked about it!

    We’re going to hire two post-college grads this Fall for a year-long “residency in ministry.” Praying it’s beneficial for guys or girls headed towards full-time vocational ministry.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 9, 2012

      That’s really cool Ben. My church had something like that when I was in college – college-kids coming back to intern (I did it for a summer). Really learned a lot..

      Keep us posted!

      Reply
  • arny

    February 8, 2012

    When Jesus was 12 he stayed behind in Jeruselm and didn’t mention it to his parents…he stayed in the temple for 4 days…
    and he did something that was unheard of…

    He was having a conversation with the teachers and scribes in the temple…no one ever talked to them…

    But Jesus from the very beginning knew what it was all about…

    Conversation…

    Conversations starts it all…

    The lady at the well never knew what hit her!

    We need conversations with our youth…that’s where it starts…

    Reply
  • rachelle

    February 10, 2012

    My mom is the assistant pastor in our church and 90% of the families are single parent. My mom makes sure to bring the kids around the house, attend their events, and we donate anything we can to these kids (times, clothes, school supplies, etc).

    Since being home from my surgery, I’ve gotten to know some of the teenage girls a bit more and they became my ‘baby sitters’ when needed (teenagers babysitting a 26 y.o. hopping around on crutches, lol!). I’ve developed such a special bond with these girls and have been so moved by the conversations I’ve had with them. It’s been on my heart to spend more time with these girls and not put in such long days at work (when I get back to that). There are those who took the time for me as I was growing up and they made their impact on me. It all started with a conversation and evolved. I look forward to where these conversations are taking me with these young ladies!

    Reply

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