Teens Wants & Needs

What is it that teens want most? According to the new Boys & Girls Clubs' Youth Report to America 2006 (a survey of more than 146,000 teens nationwide, independently tabulated) teens want a more realistic portrayal of youth in the media, and they want adults to acknowledge the positive contributions of they have made in their communities and to have a greater voice in those communities.

Stated on the press release:
"Negative stereotypes of teens in the media can present an inaccurate portrait of America's youth. Broadcasts highlighting teen violence have caused communities to enact restrictive curfew laws, loitering ordinances and increased penalties for youth who commit these acts. Laws are sometimes enacted without consideration for the rights of youth, leaving them feeling powerless and disconnected."

By the numbers:

- More than one-third (36%) of respondents believe that to improve their relationships, adults should listen more.
- Close to half of teens surveyed (48%) said that parents significantly influence their decisions.
- One-fourth (27%) said adults should be more open-minded.

Chap Clark's assesment of how the church must respond to it's teens holds true. "The greatest challenge is developing 'a theology of intergenerational community' that helps a whole church to feel responsible for its youth. Otherwise, he said, churches follow mainstream culture's market-driven vision—and, like secular culture, abandon adolescents to raise themselves."


darin said...

Hi Brian...my name is Darin (a youth pastor from indiana) - i was surfing and found your blog.
Chap's comments - right on the money - I find this to be a big struggle - rarely do we find churches that have this heart. How do you guys sow the seed for intergenerational connection?

Brian Eberly said...

Hey Darin thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

We are very much in the process of figuring that out. Currently we are striving to bring students together with other generations in the church for the purpose of mission. I believe when people are engaged in mission together we are not only fulfilling one of the chief aims of the church, but we are connecting with one another on a much deeper level.

We are also looking at new ways/styles of worshiping together. We want our worship services to be an experience that not only resonates with adults but with students as well.

We are definitely in the infancy of all this, but are excited about what God is birthing. It is time for the church to be less segmented and more untied as ONE body.

darin said...

I think the brick wall that I seem to observe in all of this is a lack of any give and take - now this may sound bias - but it sure isn't on the students' end. I find it amazing that the "mature" have such a hard time giving up what they want for the sake of unity. All the meanwhile the students long for relationship. I'm having a hard time in a large church getting adults to want to even mentor 1 or 2 students let alone allow any worship changes or subtly change church programming.
I couldn't agree more with engaging in the mission together - when this occurs it is a great thing to behold. I'm sorry if I sound a bit bleak - I just get a bit frustrated with the underestimation of students in our churches.

Anonymous said...

hi im tristin would you know what teens want to get more out of life( prom, limos)?

sana said...

Hi my name is Sana and i was wondering what teens needed most in life, could you help me with that?

Brian Eberly said...

They need to be able to answer three critical questions related to Identity, Autonomy, and Belonging.

1. Who am I? They are seeking to discover their true identity
2. What power do I really have? They need to know they can handle personal responsibility.
3. Where do I Fit? They need to discover who they fit with? What group of people to they fit with?

Once an adolescent is able to answer these three questions they are then able to move on into adulthood.

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