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2003 Conversations


Joy Williams: Rooted in Grace (December 29, 2002)

Judy Rachels: Christmas gifts (December 22, 2002)

Ralph Carmichael: New music for a timeless message (December 15, 2002)

Roger and Greg Flessing: Media, ministry and society's ungodly messages (December 8, 2002)

Rick Salvato: Meeting medical and spiritual needs around the world (November 24, 2002)

Asa Hutchinson: Drug Enforcement's top officer (November 17, 2002)

Bill Bright: 'Not I, but Christ' (November 10, 2002)

Ray Berryhill: Living by faith (October 20, 2002)

Owen C. Carr: Reading through the Bible 92 times (October 13, 2002)

Curtis Harlow: Combating campus drinking (September 29, 2002)

Wes Bartel: Making Sunday count (September 22, 2002)

M. Wayne Benson: The Holy Spirit knocks (September 15, 2002)

Dr. Richard Dobbins: Understanding Suffering (September 8, 2002)

K.R. Mele: Halloween evangelism (August 25, 2002)

Roland Blount: God makes a way for blind missionary (August 18, 2002)

Cal Thomas: Finding a mission field (August 11, 2002)

Lisa Ryan: For such a time as this (July 28, 2002)

Dallas Holm: Faith and prayer in life’s toughest times (July 21, 2002)

Paul Drost: Intentional church planting (July 14, 2002)

James M. Inhofe: Serving Christ in the Senate (June 30, 2002)

Karen Kingsbury: The Write stuff (June 23, 2002)

Michael W. Smith: Worship is how you live each day (June 16, 2002)

Wayne Stayskal: On the drawing board (June 9, 2002)

Fory VandenEinde: Anyone can minister (May 26, 2002)

Thomas E. Trask: Pentecost Sunday (May 19, 2002)

Stormie Omartian: Recovering from an abusive childhood (May 12, 2002)

Luis Carrera: Beyond the Shame (April 28, 2002)

Tom Greene: The church of today (April 21, 2002)

Philip Bongiorno: Wisdom for a younger generation (April 14, 2002)

Deborah M. Gill: Christian education and discipleship (March 24, 2002)

Norma Champion: Becoming involved in politics (February 24, 2002)

Steve Pike: A candid discussion about Mormonism (February 10, 2002)

Raymond Berry: More to life than football (January 27, 2002)

Sanctity of Human Life roundtable: Doctors speak out (January 20, 2002)

Chaplain Charles Marvin: Ministering in the military (January 13, 2002)


2001 Conversations

The church of today

(April 21, 2002)

Tom Greene, director of the Assemblies of God’s National Youth Ministries, travels across the United States partnering with local churches, youth ministers and young people to share the gospel with today’s generation. He spoke recently with Scott Harrup, associate editor.

EVANGEL: How would you describe the spiritual climate among today’s youth?

GREENE: Among those who have made their commitment to Christ, I have honestly never seen young people more committed. They are so active with their Christianity. They’re not ashamed for their friends to know that they’re Pentecostal believers. They’re not afraid to gather around flagpoles at 7 in the morning, give the Book of Hope to their friends or bow their heads in prayer in a cafeteria.

Outside the church, this generation is hungry for a spiritual relationship. But society tells them such a relationship is only as real as they want it to be and can be achieved in different ways. One of my concerns is the broader focus today on the religions of the world. Society tells young people that they’re the ones who create truth. They’re trying to find truth, and it’s the church’s responsibility to help them discover the reality of Christ while they’re spiritually hungry.

EVANGEL: What are some temptations vying for the souls of teens?

GREENE: There are the obvious things young people have always faced — the temptations of drugs, drinking, the music culture and sex before marriage. But young people today face these temptations in a greater way because of the increased opportunities to satisfy these desires. Sin is so accessible, whether it be through the Internet or the multiplicity of cable television stations available 24 hours a day. Many kids have this right in their rooms. While there are parental controls that can be put in place, kids become more interested in what is available beyond those controls.

EVANGEL: What priorities need to be established in reaching young people with the gospel?

GREENE: We must be more aggressive in going where young people are. Families in America once found their way to a local church, if not on a weekly basis then at least on Easter or Christmas. Few today feel an obligation to go to God’s house. As a result, many teenagers never are given an opportunity to accept Christ. That’s why it’s so very important that we see the campus as our mission field like never before.

EVANGEL: What misconceptions hinder understanding between adults and young people?

GREENE: We as adults greatly underestimate the role we can have in young lives in dealing with the issues just discussed. We have this misconception that young people don’t want to relate to adults. But everything about teenagers is geared toward one thing — finding love and acceptance. I’ve been involved in youth ministry for 26 years. I’ve never seen a generation more hungry for adults to be mothers and fathers to them. We can’t replace their parents, but these young people are craving attention from someone who is older who will take the time to care about them. Even the most rebellious young people, I’m convinced, act the way they do in an attempt to get attention. In the end, it’s a bigger priority that adults care about young people than that they completely understand them.

EVANGEL: What can believers and congregations do to nurture young people?

GREENE: Young people can no longer be viewed as "the church of tomorrow." They are the church of today. Unless they are prioritized today there will be no church of tomorrow. Many churches are using the gifts and talents of their young people, but others are neglecting this resource. Young people will reach out in ministry far more readily than many adults if they’re just given the opportunity. Young people who are encouraged to minister today become the ministry-oriented adults of tomorrow. Speed the Light, for example, creates this kind of process. It not only raises funds for missionaries’ equipment, but it trains the hearts of young people to support missions ministry for a lifetime.

EVANGEL: How is National Youth Ministries reaching out to today’s generation?

GREENE: We’re training leaders and offering resources to local churches and to districts to provide them the tools they need. From our offices, we can’t begin to personally disciple more than 330,000 Assemblies of God youth or reach the millions of lost students across this country. But we can provide resources to local outreaches and multiply ourselves and minister as a national team. A current outreach that really excites us is the Seven Project. These school assemblies and evening rallies are all connected to Internet resources, allowing us to take youth ministry to the next level.

 

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