High school: a great
Tom Greene is
national director for the Assemblies of God National Youth Ministries.
NYM uses ministries such as Speed the Light (STL), Fine Arts
Festival and The Seven Project to spread the gospel to today’s
youth. Greene recently spoke with Staff Writer Isaac Olivarez.
PE: What are some
issues teens are facing in today’s high schools?
The issues they face in their schools are similar to what they
face in society — violence, immorality, various temptations
that go with that. High schools are a reflection of what we
teach our young people, not only through what we say but our
actions in life. Problems in high school reflect the society
we’re handing off to this generation.
PE: What are A/G
teens doing to revolutionize their schools for Christ?
The biggest thing they’re doing is, as individuals, committing
themselves to be campus missionaries. We don’t look for
it, but if ever the day should come when Bible clubs are no
longer allowed on the campus, the students will still be there.
Probably the most beneficial investment we can make in our young
people is to prepare them to be soul winners to their campus.
PE: How should
people be praying for today’s teens?
Students need to be empowered with boldness. I’m speaking
of the empowering of the Holy Spirit to be able to speak out
their personal convictions. They are part of a society that
tries to convince them that truth is whatever you want it to
be. We need to pray that our young people will become strong
students of the Word of God and that it becomes foundational
to their lives. In the day we’re living in I think it’s
appropriate to pray for their physical protection as well. We
need to depend on the Lord to encamp around our young people.
PE: Are today’s
youth facing unique challenges?
Their challenges are unique in the sense that the lines are
more specific than they’ve ever been. In the past we saw
the good guys as the church kids and the unchurched as the bad
guys. It’s not so much that way anymore. Now it’s
more than being the church kid, it’s being the committed
believer. Those who are truly committed to serving Christ would
have been considered radically committed by previous generations.
PE: What makes
youth such a vital part of the church?
The energy they bring to the church. They expect God to be active
in their lives; they look for a move of God rather than going
through the motions of church attendance. The more we can have
them in a position of platform ministry the better because it
brings energy to the church that could be lacking otherwise.
And while we’re involving them today, it’s also
an investment in our future. They will be better prepared to
assume the reigns of leadership if we will give them opportunities.
PE: Why is it
important for teens to make a stand for their faith in school?
To make an impact on their friends and to touch those who are
unchurched. More than 20 million American teenagers will not
go through the door of a church on a weekly basis. So Christian
students obviously have one of the greatest mission fields in
the world. Something we overlook is that witnessing in school
sets a lifestyle. It sets a habit they’ll follow the rest
of their lives. If they’re bold with their faith as teenagers,
it’s not as difficult to continue with that for a lifetime.
E-mail your comments