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About

"DAVID MIERS is reported to be in the top 10 cage fighters in Gosford. He has some serious dish washing skills and thinks that Elizabeth Bennet is hot. Although he thinks that his wife Rowena is hotter. David works in youth ministry for a great church. Likes to: speak in third person, watch and play soccer, eat food and surf the web. He has never watched Star Wars."

Youth Ministry: What the Central Coast needs

The Central Coast has been in the SMH a bunch of times in the last 2 days: here (pics) on old and young alike wasting time at Erina Fair (see my post here); here on transport; here on gangs; here on a local teenage model; and more here (pics) on Friday nights at Erina Fair.

The article: Bored and isolated teenagers run wild, brought me to tears this morning. Here's a snippet:
Beyond the narrow band of wealth clinging to the coast, where the beach provides a source of entertainment, young people say they have little to do. At worst, these teenagers pass their time drinking, taking drugs and having sex. Children say they start using alcohol at 12 and many have lost their virginity by 13.
Quite often we have teenagers too young to go to clubs, too old to watch cartoons, too poor to go to the movies who walk through/past our youth group venue (not fair from Erina Fair) on a Friday night. We've had numerous eggs thrown at us, we've had significant fights outside on the oval, we've had beer bottles thrown, we've had drunken kids wander into our events, we've had 10 year old boys show their head in the door yell out "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus" laugh and then run off... to name a few! (That's not to mention the naked 16 year old Thugby League team that ran through our Junior Youth Church service on the beach last year!)

The exciting thing is that we've had significant conversations with quite a number of these guys (and never had anyone from youth group harmed in any way - it's good to have large male leaders!) and even had them return the following week (sober) to find out more about Jesus. The great tragedy is that these bored teenagers, looking for something to occupy their time, don't realise that youth group and Jesus is where the real action is at!!!

A few months ago I posted some thoughts on what Central Coast teenagers are after:
  • Teenagers want to fit in
  • Teenagers want to be where the action is
They don't know what they're doing... they don't know what they're missing... Central Coast teenagers don't need better public transport, they don't need more services, they don't need more refuge beds, they don't need an education in how to use a condom, they don't need to learn where they ought to safely deposit their used syringes, they don't need to learn safe drinking habits, they don't need more skate parks, they don't need cheaper movie tickets... THEY NEED JESUS!! JESUS IS WHERE THE REAL ACTION IS AT! THEY NEED TO HEAR ABOUT THE REAL LIFE THAT THEY CAN HAVE IN JESUS. JESUS LOVES THEM. JESUS DIED AND ROSE FOR THEM. THEY NEED JESUS TO GIVE THEM A HEART TRANSPLANT!!

There are idiots who claim to be youth ministry gurus who say it is stupid to run youth group on a Friday night. My guess is that one of the reasons they have small youth groups is because all of their "Christian" family kids are getting sloshed, stoned and sexed with their mates from school on a Friday night and are still too hung over to be able to turn up to church on the Sunday!

CCECYOUTH Leaders - keep doing what you're doing! Your labours aren't in vain (1 Cor 15:58)
CCECYOUTH Teenagers - you are legends! Keep praying for your friends!

Is it time for e(mo)vangelism (here and here)?
How do we reach this hope-less culture with the hope of the gospel?
How can we run youth groups that aren't dumb and boring - but keep showing people the real deal JESUS?

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HERE is the testimony of one guy who no longer does stupid things on a Friday night. Pray for more!
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Are you a Central Coast Teenager? Go find out about Jesus here... come to simplyJESUS... come to ccecyouth... be where the REAL action is!

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  • Anonymous Rowena says so:
    Tuesday, June 05, 2007 5:37:00 pm  

    Great post Dave. I am encouraged by your passion for the lost youth of the Central Coast. There is mush truth in the article in reflecting where "some" or "most" of the Central Coast Youth is at.

    Thankfully to God, many youth on the Central Coast are caught up in positive movements such as bible based youth groups where they are receiving teaching on the wisdom of God and not just worldly wisdom. In terms of how we ought to respond to this article I have two suggestions:

    1. Keep on doing what we are doing. We run an ace youth group where many young people from Christian and non-Christian back grounds are encouraged to live with Jesus as their saviour and Lord. Our program is fun, engaging and creative and is getting better and better all the time. We ought not change it dramatically to reach the "masses" as I think we would loose much of our effectiveness in the reaching those we currently have that want to learn about the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    2. While continuing in what we are doing we ought to also think about ways to engage with the Friday night Erina Fair crowd. Maybe monthly appearances at Erina of small walk up teams along the line of the "red frog" crew from the Gold Coast schoolies mission could be one approach.

    What do others think? top

  • Blogger Andy M says so:
    Tuesday, June 05, 2007 5:54:00 pm  

    I'll back Row up here - excellent post Dave. One of your best yet.

    I was only commenting to Mrs M yesterday (the other one, not you Row!) what a great job you are doing providing all these online resources for youth. But what an even better job you're doing providing a gospel presence in the real world where these kids exist.

    Great to see the focus of your answer to the teen problem being the heart transplant that Jesus can give, rather than all the other external band aids, which of course are needed and have their place, but won't provide satisfying, long term solutions, nor deal with their real problem which is alienation from God.

    I can see this SMH series has really got you thinking about how to expand CCECYouth's gospel presence in the real world (e.g. Erina Fair!) even more. So I pray God would go with you in that.

    Thanks. Am greatly encouraged by this post and the passion behind it. top

  • Blogger David says so:
    Tuesday, June 05, 2007 6:13:00 pm  

    thanks row.
    thanks andrew.

    which of course are needed and have their place,

    yes - i agree... i was spekaing in hyperbole...
    but yeah - ultimately they are bandaids! top

  • Blogger Guthers says so:
    Tuesday, June 05, 2007 6:29:00 pm  

    Yeh I'll concur - great post Dave...

    Thank God for CCEC Youth. Thank God for the faithful, bible taching leaders and for the kids who are willing to go against the crowd and stand up for what they believe about their Lord and saviour.

    Will be praying for your increased reach in the area. top

  • Anonymous Joel C says so:
    Tuesday, June 05, 2007 10:29:00 pm  

    I will reply in full 2morow when I have a chance to read the complete article and all of the responses. From a glance I honestly think some of your reactions Dave a little over the top.


    Also I think we are likely to see more of the articles for the next 3 days...
    (Are you writing a letter to the herald in response?) top

  • Blogger David says so:
    Tuesday, June 05, 2007 11:05:00 pm  

    thanks for the encouragement and prayer guthers.


    I will reply in full 2morow when I have a chance to read the complete article and all of the responses. From a glance I honestly think some of your reactions Dave a little over the top.

    with all respect joel - it's difficult for you to say that my reaction is over the top without having actually rad the articles I'm responding to! I'd be interested to know exactly what is over the top.

    peaceout top

  • Anonymous Joel C says so:
    Wednesday, June 06, 2007 11:49:00 am  

    with all respect joel - it's difficult for you to say that my reaction is over the top without having actually rad the articles I'm responding to!

    Fair point, but what I meant to say was "I will respond 2morow when I have read your complete blog article in full... and the responses to this blog". I have read the newpaper articles, straight from the newspapers themselves (A lovely pic of Phil Godden in today's article!) and I have only scanned your blog so far. When I have a chance I will answer in full. top

  • Blogger michelle says so:
    Wednesday, June 06, 2007 5:13:00 pm  

    Do I live on the same Central Coast? Gee, I know there's some trouble makers but come on... Is what the smh
    's sprouting for real? There's young teenaged punks running around carrying kitchen knives in case they get "jumped"? I live on the peninsula, which is apparently such a terrible place, and aside from a few random youths chucking otto bins around occassionally, I've never noticed that it's that bad..?

    "It's boring, so you pretty much get drunk," a 16-year-old girl said. "Everyone smokes, everyone's on drugs. I love it, though; I wouldn't want to live anywhere else."

    I wonder, what does the Central Coast lack that they have in other places that makes it so boring? My mum used to say being bored was due to a lack of imagination, and I can't help thinking she was right.

    Yes, the youth groups you guys are running are fantastic. Yes, people's real need is the gospel. Yes, what i'm about to suggest is just a 'bandaid'...

    I can't help thinking that what the Central Coast also really lacks is parents who will say NO to their children. I would never in a million years have been allowed to wander aimlessly around Erina Fair on a Friday night. My parents aren't Christian, but they did me a great service in making sure I was too busy to be bored. top

  • Blogger David says so:
    Wednesday, June 06, 2007 5:21:00 pm  

    hey michelle.

    good comments about parents and imagination etc.

    i do think it accuaretly reflects a significant chunk of the coast.

    one of the schools i was at today we talked about some of these things from the article (year 10 students) - i wanted a ball park figure on how many of their year group fit in the categories spoken of in the article... expecting them to say 40 percent - they said 90... they may have been exaggerating... but nonetheless it's significant. top

  • Anonymous Anonymous says so:
    Thursday, June 07, 2007 6:14:00 pm  

    One word "Discipline"

    Missing from Homes (Some)
    Missing from Schools
    Missing from the police force

    Home - Are parents losing control or just don't want to tackle confrontation.

    School - Lack of respect for teachers maybe or kids attitudes , who knows.

    Police - If they do what most call "the call of duty" others call it brutality and want to sue them.

    Kids are taught they have right these days,yes they have and they should know them as well,but what about the parents rights (without going overboard)

    It seems since the government and it agencies got involved with the whole parenting thing , parents, teachers and police lost the last of the powers they had.

    Kids can go nuts in the street etc and we get told "they are to young we can't do anything or they are bored what do you expect"yet if a parent smacks a kid thay are told they are in trouble and face fines or jail....

    I am not saying that this is all kids I think it is a minority that pretend to be a majority,most youth will talk it up to fit in but when it comes down to it they are good kids just trying to fit in...

    @ michelle,I agree it is not as bad as they make it out to be, but as we get older and have our own kids we are not in those circles anymore and don't notice it as much until our kids get a bit older and start getting involved then we tend to notice these things again.

    Anyway just my 2cents worth.... top

  • Blogger michelle says so:
    Friday, June 08, 2007 10:25:00 am  

    @ michelle,I agree it is not as bad as they make it out to be, but as we get older and have our own kids we are not in those circles anymore and don't notice it as much until our kids get a bit older and start getting involved then we tend to notice these things again.

    See, that's the thing... I was never involved in "those" circles, and have no intention of letting my kids be, either. (Also, even the cops reckon it's not as bad as the smh was making out- in the article on 'gangs'). And does having small children really mean I'm completely oblivious to all society bar The Wiggles, Bananas in Pyjamas and Hi-5?

    But I agree, the complete lack of discipline exhibited by our society in general is a big problem, and the cause of many more. top

  • Anonymous Anonymous says so:
    Tuesday, June 12, 2007 1:48:00 am  

    Thanks for reply michelle,
    Quote "See, that's the thing... I was never involved in "those" circles, and have no intention of letting my kids be, either."

    You are a christian so I expect you to say that,growing up as a believer in god but really a non christian,my parents had no intention of letting me be involved in such circles either, but as I was a boy and a teenager who like most, if not worse now had peer pressure,i was involved in drug use , theft , sex etc.
    My point is we can give our kids advice , give them guidance and teach them morels but we can't say what they will do in the teenage years.(No,not all kids are the same - some less extreme some more extreme)I've been a christian now for some years and I don't want that for my 3 kids, but at the end of the day it is soley them who decides if they truly believe in jesus and come forth to the lord.

    Quote "Also, even the cops reckon it's not as bad as the smh was making out- in the article on 'gangs'"

    I have two friends(no not total,LOL) , one a detective and the other a highway patrol officer and they have told me that only about 40% or less of total occurances of breakins , rapes , gang violence etc. make the media,lets not forget to subtract media beatups for ratings etc.
    This is across the board so actual gang related violence may be a small number only who knows.
    I still don't believe it is at current as bad as the SMH says,BUT,over the past twelve or so years I have lived on the coast it has steadily increased over the last 3-5 years.

    Fianally.........
    Quote"And does having small children really mean I'm completely oblivious to all society bar The Wiggles, Bananas in Pyjamas and Hi-5?"

    No I am not saying that at all,all I am saying is,I know when my kids were born I went to less bbq's , nights out with friends ,church events , bible study etc. and of course that means less interaction with teens ,adults and children.Also if you are a stay at home parent you are not getting any interaction from workmates etc.
    NOW,most of this only applies to the first year until things get back to a bit of normality or you manage to juggle things better,so in a kind of way you become slighty removed from normal society circles,you enter this kind of "get along with anyone with young children society" which is not a bad thing,I know my wife and I did it and we have had some great times, I suppose what I am saying is that with the birth of your children especially as a christian you are that knocked out by these little miracles of life that GOD has provided you with that you tend to forget about the problems of the world for a while and want to believe the world is this wonderful place, but as reality creeps back in over the coming months you tend to remember that it is not....

    Once again thanks michelle. top

  • Blogger michelle says so:
    Tuesday, June 12, 2007 11:56:00 am  

    anonymous... do we know each other?

    Firstly, I didn't grow up a Xian, I became one at 16/17. Secondly, my husband is a High School teacher, and I have very few friends who have children themselves, so I don't really understand why having kids means I don't know what's going on in the rest of the world... Though it is true I don't get out as much in the evenings.

    P.S. Dave, sorry if this thread isn't going where you intended. top

  • Blogger David says so:
    Tuesday, June 12, 2007 12:05:00 pm  

    michelle and anon.
    not a problem where this post is going!
    it's all relevant!

    peaceout. top

  • Anonymous Anonymous says so:
    Wednesday, June 13, 2007 2:32:00 am  

    Finally

    Quote : "I don't really understand why having kids means I don't know what's going on in the rest of the world..."

    I am not saying you don't know whats going on in the world at all,if you know christ you ovbiously now there is problems in this world,I was just saying with younger kids we just take one or two steps back for a while thats all.

    Anyway michelle its been fun to chat, Thanks..

    Thanks for this article Dave..

    Peace Out (Stole Daves Tagline) top