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2009 Conversations


Sara Groves
12.21.08

Keith and Kristyn Getty
12.14.08

Jesse Miranda
11.30.08

Heather Bland
11.23.08

Cathleen Lewis
11.16.08

Robert Leathers
11.9.08

Ravi Zacharias
10.26.08

Scotty Gibbons
10.19.08

George O. Wood
9.28.08

George O. Wood
9.21.08

G. Robert Cook Jr.
9.14.08

Michelle LaRowe Conover
8.31.08

Janet Boynes
8.24.08

Kirk Cameron
8.17.08

Laura Wilkinson
8.10.08

Melody Rossi
7.27.08

Randy Travis
7.20.08

Maylo Upton-Aames
7.13.08

Chuck Norris
6.29.08

Francis Xavier 'Chip' Flaherty Jr.
6.22.08

Ben Carson
6.15.08

Robert H. Spence
6.8.08

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser
5.25.08

R. Albert Mohler Jr.
5.18.08

James K. Bridges
5.11.08

Manny Mill
4.27.08

Brock Gill
4.20.08

Robert Burt
4.13.08

Gerry Hindy
3.30.08

J.I. Packer
3.23.08

Stanley Horton
3.16.08

Linda Mintle
3.9.08

Joanna Weaver
2.24.08

Buck Taylor
2.17.08

Debra Risner
2.10.08

Bill Glass
1.27.08

Edward Gilbreath
1.20.08

Rob Seagears and Andy Casper
1.13.08


2007 Conversations


2006 Conversations


Conversation: Scotty Gibbons

Teen beat

Scotty Gibbons is youth pastor at James River Assembly of God in Ozark, Mo. Earlier this year his first book, Carry On: Packing and Persevering for Success in Student Ministry, was released. During more than 15 years of ministering to teenagers, Gibbons has learned what challenges they face and how they are being influenced against faith in Jesus Christ. Recently, Gibbons spoke with Managing Editor Kirk Noonan to lend some insight into the sometimes-perplexing world of teens.

tpe: What’s the spiritual temperature of unchurched teens?

GIBBONS: When an unchurched teen comes to church, we aren’t working with a blank canvas who is inclined to believe in a God who created him or her with a purpose. Instead, we’re dealing with kids who have a lot of baggage. Many of them are from broken homes, have little respect for authority and have trust issues.

tpe: Twenty years ago there used to be jocks, freaks and geeks. But there seem to be many more subgroups in the teen world today.

GIBBONS: Absolutely. You used to be able to name all the youth subcultures on one hand. Not anymore. Whether there are five or 50 subcultures, every teen still wants individuality as well as a sense of belonging.

tpe: Where did all the subcultures come from?

GIBBONS: With globalization and the Internet, fads are easily accessible for teens. They don’t have to wait for something to work itself from California or the East Coast to the Midwest anymore. But no matter what subculture a teen lands in, I always tell them to let God brand them. Life is so much better when you let God tell you who you are and who you should be.

tpe: What toll has relativism taken when it comes to teens?

GIBBONS: Youth pastors are constantly meeting kids who say, “I believe in God, but I don’t believe in a literal heaven or hell or that the Bible is totally true.” That has posed many challenges to youth pastors and to Christian teens who are trying to share their faith with their peers.

tpe: Has it gotten tougher for teens to keep their faith?

GIBBONS: Though many people say, “Whatever you believe is cool, just don’t push it on me,” Christianity is not always given that kind of acceptance. It can get even worse for a teen who accepts Christ as Savior and has a radical change in his or her life. Especially when such a person says, “I’m not going to do the things I used to do.”

tpe: Teens are bombarded with a lot of media messages contradictory to what they are hearing at church, but some studies say their friends are even more influential. What’s your take?

GIBBONS: One of the subtlest threats to a teen’s faith has always been, is, and always will be his or her friends. If those friends are not fully committed to Christ, they will try to wear down the committed Christian teen’s resolve to his or her faith.

tpe: Does the typical teen want to be challenged to live a holy life?

GIBBONS: Surrendering to God and acknowledging what He has for us is non-negotiable, and teens need to know that. We cannot tell teens to tiptoe into their faith and see if they like it. They need to recognize that there is a holy God before whom they will one day stand, and if their names are not in His Book of Life they will spend eternity separated from Him. That’s as straightforward and compelling as it gets, and teens can handle it.

tpe: Why did you write Carry On?

GIBBONS: I’ve been in student ministry for a long time, but I am more passionate about reaching teens for Jesus than I have ever been. My best attempt to reach as many teens for Christ as I can will only be multiplied if I can encourage and equip other youth leaders and pastors who are as bent on reaching teens for Christ as I am.

E-mail your comments to tpe@ag.org.

 

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