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Remember youth? Remember what it used to be like? The feel of sand between your fingers and toes. The smell of sweet summer air. Your senses engaged at every moment.

The world wasn't a massive spinning planet. It was an open field, a sandy beach, a tent pitched beneath the stars—the world was wherever you were. It centered around you. And it was infinitesimal. Back then.

Now, young people live a virtual existence in a vast domain filled with techno-babble, wireless technologies and personal communication devices designed to cut down on personal communication.

Hanging out in Internet cafes in Guatemala, chatting up their friends on credit card-sized phones in Tokyo, maintaining intimate relationships across two continents via high-speed wireless technology. A fourteen-year old can easily access his portfolio by mobile phone.

Who's got time for sandcastles or stargazing? These tactile formalities can be downloaded later.

Being young. Honest communication, genuine concern and true compassion have all been swallowed-up by a new cultural craze—the rise of the fabricated image. And the fall of substance.

Young people now live on the other side of the looking glass—a place where rightside up isn't what it should be, and outside in is the only way to reach the soul.

Reaching their world means turning it upside down.

There are lots of stats. Some more interesting than others. For instance:
  • Almost half the world's population is under the age of 25—that's nearly 3 billion young people worldwide.
  • More than 96 percent of the world's young people live outside the United States.
  • Meanwhile, the U.S. spends more money on dog food than the church spends on overseas outreaches.
What these tidbits reveal is gross neglect. In the U.S. there is a steady stream of multi-media youth extravaganzas and an abundance of effective evangelistic tools working overtime to reach our young people. Not so for the rest of the world. A huge portion of the earth's population is young people. Yet, there aren't enough relevant, multimedia outreaches to cover this vast populace. No one is speaking their language.

It's time for us to adjust our thinking. It's time to think bigger. Big enough to believe that this worldwide generation can be reached with the real, relevant, powerful Gospel.

Reaching this generation is about thinking differently. It's about spreading the Gospel in an entertaining, meaningful, honest way. It's about utilizing the latest technologies, illustrated messages, contemporary musical performers, MTV-style video presentations—whatever it takes to get their attention and open the door to a genuine encounter with Almighty God.

Worldwide crusades. Wide open hearts. And the Spirit of God, doing His thing. Nothing less than awe-inspiring, life-altering, precision evangelism.

From the outside in. Turning the world upside down.

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

Author Biography

Rod Arnold
Web site:
Rod Arnold is founder of BrandSmart Marketing, a branding and marketing agency, and he lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with the love of his life, Michelle, and their four incredible children, Ben, Bo, Jackson and Lily.

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