Teen Challenge’s chances of dissolving and drifting from our mission is only to the degree that we hold fast to God and His Word. If we forsake our commitment to Christ, and demote the Bible to just another book among many, our chances for straying will be great. The issues discussed here may not seem to be a huge threat right now, but that is because the cultural currents that can cause us to drift are subtle and take place over time, not quickly. But, when bridges collapse, casualties are extremely high. When floating in the ocean, you never know how far you’ve drifted until you look up! We do not fight currents alone. God is fighting for us. We are not called to force others to believe what we believe. We are not called to be theological police to the World, and to try and even change the world through natural means. We are called to serve and obey God, and HE will open the doors of influence for us when He sees fit. We aren’t going to make every senator and government official a Christian and get them to implement Christian laws. Satan knows this. Win Souls not arguments! Help people think rightly but know that no one has ever been argued into the kingdom! Endurance will be key in withstanding the currents! There are 2 types of Currents: External and Internal. External currents from the world, when they infiltrate through the gates of the church, create an internal current that only leaders committed to true sound teaching can endure. The best way to withstand the current is to grow.
Post-modernism says that truth is relative; what is true for me may not be true for you. We don’t fight a neutral enemy. We see today people killing Christians and Christians are targeted to conform. Postmodernism is seen anywhere where Christianity is subjectively judged and made to look ignorant and close-minded. As if no one who is intelligent would be a Christian. The Satan-influenced world is on the offensive, not the neutral, make no mistake. Christian organizations like us have been and will continue to be intentionally targeted to conform, but we must not (Matt 10:16). This scripture will be key to navigating in our culture. We must ask for wisdom and bathe our leaders in prayer for the wisdom of God to guide them. Post-modernism says the human race is beyond the archaic age of Christianity but Paul encourages the Church against the post-modernism of the day “for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” Romans 1:18-20.
“We are facing a very real crisis of critical thought among today’s youth. Our secular culture increasingly favors a growing multiculturalism that affirms a uniform tolerance of all worldviews while simultaneously opposing a firm commitment to any one belief. Many young people believe that all religions are basically the same. Consequently, many young men and women cannot articulate their own faith.” ~ RZIM
Withstanding the current of post-modernism will take the absolute truth of Jesus Christ. Be careful of watching too much news which is designed to strike fear in the hearts of the believer. Is our stance on what the news say or what the Word says? We, Christians, know how the story ends. If you are consumed with the news you will end up going by Fox news and not the Good News. Guard your heart. The Gospel is the answer to the world and the Church; strength and grace to the Church and hope to the world.
Cheap Relationships due to hyper-socialization
We are managing and multi-tasking at a level of relationships we weren’t supposed to manage. We were not created to manage these relationships with so many people. The current of cheap relationships that is facing us will make it very difficult to bestow the DNA of TC on Gen-next because of the technological age. Hyper-socialization will create cheap relationships. Weak relationships create weak conduits for influence. We must have stronger relationships. Time and effort is the only ways to create and sustain relationships. We live in a culture of short cut where we want everything fast and convenient. Teen Challenge must be a conduit of quality discipleship through quality relationships. If all we have is microwave-relationships and poor social skills we have microwave discipleship. The younger generation must humble ourselves to receive from the older generation. Discipline yourself to do face to face communication. Call instead of text, meet someone instead of texting.
Our society have become excessively sensitive and as Christians we don’t want to offend people. From this hyper-sensitivity, sometimes we can pervert Christ into something that isn’t Christ to try and make Him “relevant”. If we are afraid to tell people they are in sin then we give them a wrong impression of Jesus. Are we giving people Good News or just news? Hyper-sensitivity makes it difficult for evangelism to happen. We need to preach what the Word says not just the fluffy parts to make people feel good. Keep your eyes on Christ when you are made to look like an idiot and irrelevant as a Christian. Don’t change Jesus around to look good for everyone else.
We compromise the truth of God’s Word because we want to be politically correct. We accept standards that are lower than what our Father desires. One sure way to be stronger and move forward is in the depths of God’s Word. How we minister God’s Word in mentoring, PSNC, GSNC – we must be experts on how people’s beliefs effect their behavior. Why do so many of our graduates relapse? They stop listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. They lack understanding of spiritual authority; trying to do things in their own strength – operate in the flesh in a way that they can’t hear from anyone around them. If we do things as God wants us to, we’ll have God’s blessings in our lives. As Teen Challenge staff and students we must grow stronger in integrity; be people of the heart and of the head. If we are to withstand this current we must grow stronger in biblical integrity and sound theology 1John1:1-3. The gospel has been handed to us, and we must hand it down to our students in boldness and the Spirit’s power!
Religion (external and internal)
Become a passionate lover and worshipper of God. Do not lose your love and passion for Jesus. Keep it fresh. Spend time with Him in prayer. In the journey is where we thrive. Many times we retreat from our passion and intimacy when placed in leadership position. DO NOT LOSE YOUR PASSION AND EXCITEMENT FOR JESUS! Many times our graduates and leaders look at Christians whose love for Jesus has been replaced by religion; lists of do’s and don’ts. Satan would love nothing more than that you would exchange your true desire to know God and to seek Him (which is harder), and do the easier way – to try and be good. Try and do more good things than you do bad things. This is religion to a ‘T.’ We live in a passive culture where we stand out if we are passionate about something. Never lose your intimacy; becoming a spiritual oasis to others takes a thriving relationship with Jesus. The fear of God and Hope will be key in our witness 1 Peter 3:15. When we have a true love and hope in Christ, people will see it, they will rub up against it, and know something is different. We are the only true carriers of hope in the world.
As Christians and leaders, be vigilant to guard your heart against the effects of the cultural currents that we face! The enemy (world, flesh, devil) will try to take out your heart. If we drop like flies one-by-one, we cannot be united as a whole and withstand the cultural currents we face!
Excerpts from ELP Summit 2015 presented by Dan Williams – ELP Rep (Middle GA)