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Do you know there's an invasion about to happen? This invasion is not from China or Russia. This invasion is coming from within. We're about to be invaded by teenagers - children of the baby boomers. Over the next seven to eight years, we're going to see an increase from about twenty-four million present teenagers to thirty-five million.

In fact, the next huge population surge in America will happen over these next ten years. That means over sixty million young people between the ages right now of five and eighteen will come through the ranks and take their place in American society as tomorrow's leaders (Ellen Neuborne et al., "Generation Y," Business Week (February 15, 1999): p. 82).

What are the implications of this invasion? What does it mean for us as pastors, parents, and leaders? Think about it for a minute. If the same percentage of young people still get pregnant out of wedlock, there will be a lot more unwed mothers.

If the percentage of young people involved in drug abuse stays the same, there will be a lot more young people on drugs. According to the 1999 Drug Control Strategy Report from the White House, illicit drug use among 8th graders more than doubled from 5.7 percent to 14.6 percent. Drug use among 10th graders also doubled in the same period, from 11.6 percent to 23.2 percent.

Illicit drug use among 12th graders increased by 50 percent, from 16.4 percent to 24.6 percent. In 1997, 11.4 percent of those aged twelve to seventeen were current drug users, where it was only at 5.3 percent in 1992. If the percentage of youth-related shootings stays the same, there will be a lot more young people hurting and killing others.

We're also going to have to build a lot more junior and senior high schools in order to accommodate these young people. We're going to have to do a lot more of everything.

This invasion that's beginning to take place has not gone unnoticed by the world. Madison Avenue and Hollywood are among those gearing up for this young generation. They're already targeting this age group to market their chips, shoes, clothes, facial products, hair products, and sports products, because they know if they get them buying while they're young, they'll buy for the rest of their lives. They are out to win their market share.

We've heard recent revelations about Joe Camel and other cigarette companies targeting thirteen-year-olds, because that's virtually the only place they can get new customers - nonsmoking young people. You can look at just about any commercial on television in the afternoons and evenings and see the advertising is directed towards young people - no matter what the product is. They are targeting our young people.

The real tragedy is that the people selling clothing, cigarettes, movies, and music are targeting young people for their money, but are also getting their hearts. The industry goes after the initial buck and ends up transforming the way young people think, the way they live, and the way they believe.

MTV is so aggressive in their determination to go after this young generation. They boast not that they advertise to this generation, but that they "own" this generation. If the world is this aggressive about going after our young people, can't we as the body of Christ be even more aggressive?

Yes! Not only can we be more aggressive, it is our responsibility to win our young people for the Lord!

Statistics show that over 80 percent of anyone who ever gives their heart to Jesus does so before they're twenty years old. What does that say to you about the importance of reaching this young generation? The highest probability that they'll ever give their life to the Lord is while they're young - before they turn twenty, and get hard and set in their ways.

The world knows this and that's why they concentrate on selling them their products while they're young. The same is true with the things of God. If they don't grab hold of the Lord while they're young, chances are they'll get set in their ways, they'll never give their life to the Lord, and they'll never see heaven. I admonish you to seize the opportunity at hand.

It's time for us to realize that the job of reaching this generation is not the youth pastor's job or the youth evangelist's job. It's not even the pastor's job. If you're a Christian and you love the Lord, it's your job - it's all of our jobs.

Think of the combined forces of the thousands of people who work in the entertainment industry - Hollywood, MTV, and the music business - all gearing towards grabbing the hearts and dollars of our young people. Yet as Christians, many times all we do is hire one person - an underpaid, inferior, "staff position" - to be our Christian representative in an effort to reach these young people.

Could it be that the world is more committed to reaching out and capturing this generation than we are? Whatever this generation says, believes, and does will shape the next one hundred years both here in America and around the world.

Right now is our chance of a lifetime to set the pace for the new millennium by capturing this generation's hearts and winning them to the Lord.

It is my goal for you to realize that this is not just another generation and you're not just another adult watching life go by. God brought you to this world for such a time as this, just like Esther, that you could be a part of shaping a young generation and in so doing, shaping the destiny of a new millennium.

Copyright © Teen Mania Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Ron Luce
Web site: Ron Luce
Ron Luce was the co-founder's and president of Teen Mania Ministries from 1986-2015. Ron and his wife Katie dreamed to raise up young people who would change the world.

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