On Tuesday I get to spend the day with a group of pastors. Evangelical Theological Seminary is holding their annual Fall Forum and I have the privilege of speaking on Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture. It's always my hope that God will use our ministry at CPYU to challenge pastors to engage the kids in the pew. The potential they have to pull that off is huge. When that potential is realized, it's an even bigger thing. I've seen it happen, and it's exciting to watch!
One of the strategies I use to engage pastors in thinking more deeply about youth culture is to show them an "artifact" from the youth culture. . . something contemporary that's gotten some traction with kids. On Tuesday, I'm going to show them the catchy video from Katy Perry, "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.). In the video, Perry plays the role of a nerdy little 13-year-old girl who goes through an overnight transformation. . . which is a whole lot like real-life adolescence. Talk about traction. . . the version of the video I've embedded below has over 125 million views. In addition, Perry has built a little cottage industry with a host of little video clips featuring her 13-year-old character talking about her life. Those videos have accumulated tens of millions more views.
After showing the video I'll ask some follow-up questions: How many of you have heard the song before? How many of you have seen the video? I won't expect too many hands to go up. Then I'll ask two more questions: As pastors, what do we do with that video? After viewing that video, what are the youth culture realities we need to address?
Many of the youth workers I know wish that their senior church leadership and pastors would not only know more about youth culture, but they would love to see them respond to youth culture realities by bringing the light of Gospel to bear on the realities that exist.
Here's your chance to help me out and to get a message across to the pastors I'll be with on Tuesday. Give the Katy Perry video a look. Then, fire off a comment with a list of the youth culture realities portrayed in the video that you would like to see the pastors acknowledge and address through their ministries. I'll let them know what you've come up with.