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Moving the Next Generation from Consumers to Creators

Jul. 31, 2020

What do you see when you look at the youth of the next generation?
What first comes to your mind when you compare this generation to where you were at their age?

For some of us, maybe it is an underwhelming sense of disappointment, and for others, perhaps there is great pride in all that teens of our day are accomplishing. One could make a case that our young people have gone into the pool's deep end when it comes to consuming entertainment. There are endless Snapchat filters, Tik-Tok dances, and hours of YouTube videos every day.

If there is one thing we all have learned about teens today, it’s that if they're not interested in what’s in front of them, they’ll get on their phone and find something that is, and they won’t sugarcoat it!

Maybe you’re wondering where I am going with all of this.

You see, something has shifted in this new generation of youth. Growing up having everything at the tip of their fingers since they were born, what impressed previous generations just doesn’t cut it for today's youth. Here is what I believe about students today: They long to be a part of something bigger than themselves and want to be a part of the action. It may look like they are just wasting time on their phone. In reality, I believe there is a deep drive and innate desire for students to create. They want to create culture, create funny dances, post videos of new things they are cooking or trying out. They invest in creating new things even if on the surface it might seem like they are just passing the time or battling extreme boredom.

Here's the question Compass Students is asking each week:

How can we empower this next generation to create something, to lead something, to do something significant?

Teens today are not interested in going through a tradition or ritual of serving the same way as generations before. They HAVE to know it matters to them, or they’ll vote to stay home. If you were to walk into Compass Center on any given weekend (pre-COVID-19), you would have seen students leading communion, leading TEAMS, and making sure everything is ready to go for the day. You would see students not only liking our posts on Instagram but also behind cameras helping tell the story of what God is doing. You'd see students not just told to watch the adults and sing louder, but helping lead worship. You'd see students helping lead small groups on Wednesday night. You'd see on any given week, students helping lead, and helping create.

In February, we had five high school students give the sermon to 300 middle schoolers at The Pointe. If you’ve ever seen the Pointe, it’s challenging to tame that mass of energy and excitement, ESPECIALLY during the message. BUT on this particular night, the room was still. Almost too still. No one moved. Why? Because they were watching students who they looked up to minister to them. They were 100 percent locked in.

My point in all of this is simple:

I believe this generation is more interested in creating something together than watching someone else do it for them.

Students HAVE to know it matters to them, or they will log off. It may look like they are just consuming all of the time. Still, deep down, I genuinely believe they have this deep desire to create something with their lives, something that leaves the world different, and something they look back on and can say, “I was a part of that.”

I’m excited to see this generation grow up and proud of how they lead the way today.

Here's are a few questions to ask ourselves:

  • How can we help empower them?
  • How can we bring them along in the process and not just tell them what we’re doing?
  • How can we better invest in this generation?

Yes, they are the future, but more than ever, they are the present. We have a fantastic opportunity to make a difference with the youth of today, instead of making them wait until they are older! I believe God is stirring up something amazing within this current generation. I don’t know about you, but I want to set them up to win and help them create something amazing to navigate more people to God.

Current Reading List:

  • Dream Big by Bob Goff
  • Chasing Wisdom: The Lifelong Pursuit of Living Well by Daniel Grothe.

Favorite Podcasts in this season:

  • Craig Groeschel
  • Leadership Lean In by Chad Veach.

Written by:
Zack Moody
Compass CV Student Team