07.17.17

5 Ways to Reach More Millennials at Your Church by Brandon Hilgemann

pastors.com

Hi, I’m Brandon, and I’m a millennial.

I am one of those so-called entitled, snowflake babies born between 1980 and 2000.

Being a millennial comes with many unfair stereotypes:

  • We are lazy.
  • We want trophies just for participating.
  • We can’t find stable jobs or move out of our parents’ basements.

While some of the stereotypes are true for some millennials, I know a lot of millennials who break the trend.

But there is one stereotype about millennials that is scary because it’s true. Millennials are leaving the church in droves.

So while I cannot pretend to speak for all millennials, I can tell you what my millennial friends and I want to see in your church.

1. Put millennials on stage.

When we go to church and see a bunch of gray-haired guys on stage and a bunch of gray-haired people in the crowd, we wonder if we fit in.

Find ways to get younger people on stage. And let a millennial pastor preach every once in a while.

If you don’t have one on staff (or at least as an elder or high-capacity volunteer), that may be part of the problem.

Show us that your church isn’t just an old-persons club, but a place that we can serve and use our gifts, too.

I know from experience how hard it is for millennials to break into ministry. We are starving for someone to give us a chance.

Just look at the churches that are reaching millennials and tell me if any of them don’t have young people on stage.

2. Be real with us.

We crave authenticity.

Don’t pretend like everything in life is rosy when you follow Jesus. If you do, we will know you’re fake.

You aren’t fooling anyone. We all know you aren’t perfect. We loathe imposters, and many of us are skeptical because church leaders can seem fake.

So quit talking to us like we are naive, and skipping around sensitive subjects.

Be uncomfortably vulnerable with us about your shortcomings and struggles in your faith. Tell us how you continue to wrestle with your imperfections while trying to follow Christ.

We want the ugly truth about the messy issues in life, even when it stings.

3. Embrace technology.

Stop pretending like it’s 1985 and we don’t all have smartphones in our pockets.

Technology has dated many practices of the church.

Stop asking everyone to fill out a physical communication card with a dull pencil when you can just ask us to send you a text, email, or fill out a quick form on your website.

Don’t ask us for our home phone number. Does anyone still have a landline? Just ask for a phone number and assume it’s a cell phone.

Also, just so you know, most millennials don’t carry cash anymore. Many of us can hardly remember the last time we saw a checkbook. We use debit cards (or even our phones) and pay bills online. So it’s awkward when you pass an offering plate and don’t give us an option to give online.

I could list a hundred more examples.

If nothing else, start here: Update your church website and make it the central hub for all church information, registration, and giving.

4. Use visuals.

Like it or not, we are a visual generation.

It’s harder than ever for a preacher to hold our attention. But we are drawn to pictures and video. Please use them.

If you are talking about a location in the Bible, show us a picture of the area.

If you are preaching about an abstract concept, find a concrete way to demonstrate it.

Take advantage of the excellent video illustrations at your disposal.

Even just painting word pictures and telling stories helps.

In every sermon, ask yourself, “How can I both show and tell?” (I have an entire chapter on this in my book Preach and Deliver).

Use visual elements and imagery to help us see what you say.

Not only will you hold our attention, but you will help us understand in the way that we have been conditioned by our culture to learn.

Preaching isn’t dead to millennials, but it needs to adapt to our culture.

5. Be clear.

We like things that are clear and simple.

This goes for everything: your preaching, your theology, your programming, your mission statement . . . even your church signs.

We don’t like 12-point sermons. Stick with one big point.

We don’t like signs we have to stop to read, just point us in the right direction.

And please, for the love, stop reading every church announcement from the stage. Highlight a thing or two that’s coming up and point us to where we can get more information.

Also, understand that simplicity does not mean stupidity. It takes more intelligence to make the complex simple.

Cut the clutter.

The point

Don’t believe all the stereotypes you hear about millennials. We don’t have to be the generation that leaves the church.

But if you want to reach us, some things in your church will have to change.

These five things alone won’t do all the work for you. But if you want your church to reach millennials, this is a start to creating an environment that will help.

Otherwise, your church might keep fishing with the wrong bait.

07.10.17

The Challenges Facing Young Christians by J. Warner Wallace

coldcasechristianity.com

Every other week, from May to August, I have the honor of speaking with students at Summit Worldview Academy. I typically teach on the nature of truth, the reliability of the gospels, and the evidence for God’s existence. The students are eager to learn and have many good questions. As I speak with these young men and women, I think about the many ways our kids are challenged from childhood through their college years:

They Are Challenged by the Media
Young Christians are challenged very early, beginning with their first exposure to television, movies and the internet. Much of the media is aligned against Christian values, and Americans spend about one-third of their free time, (more than the next 10 most popular leisure activities combined) watching some form of television. The messages communicated by television programming are often in direct opposition to the teaching of Christianity, and students are deeply impacted by what they absorb from the media. Two out of every three shows on television, for example, include sexual content (a dramatic increase over the past 15 years). 50% of the couples involved in sexual behavior in television programming are depicted in casual relationships (10% of these couples had just met, and 9% of television programs depict sexual behavior between teens). In a set of Kaiser Family Foundation studies, 76% of teens said that one reason young people have sex is because TV shows and movies “make it seem normal”. College students who were exposed to the many examples of sexual behavior on television were more likely to believe their peers engaged in those same activities.

They Are Challenged by Elementary and High School Programming
Make no mistake about it, when Christian values are attacked in the public education system, the basis for those beliefs (Christianity) is also attacked. Here in California, for example, comprehensive sexual health and HIV / AIDS instruction requires schools to teach students how to have “safe sex”. “Abstinence only” education is not permitted in California public schools. In addition, California schools cannot inform parents if their children leave campus to receive certain confidential medical services, including abortions. Classic Christian values related to sexuality (and marriage) are under attack in the public school system.

They Are Challenged by University Professors
Once students get to college, they are likely to encounter professors who are even more aggressive in their opposition to Christianity and Christian values. According to the Institute for Jewish and Community research, a survey of 1,200 college faculty members revealed 1 in 4 professors (25%) is an atheist or agnostic (compared with 4-5% in the general population). In addition, only 6% of university professors say the Bible is “the actual word of God”. Instead, 51% say the Bible is “an ancient book of fables, legends, history & moral precepts”. More than half of professors have “unfavorable” feelings toward Evangelical Christians. Charles Francis Potter (author of Humanism: A New Religion) said it best when he proclaimed, “Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism.  What can the theistic Sunday-schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five day program of humanistic teaching?”

They Are Challenged by University Students
The attitude and influence of hostile professors is often accepted by University students happy to reject the moral precepts of the Christian worldview. Atheist student groups are multiplying dramatically in universities across America. The Secular Student Alliance, for example, grew from 80 student clubs in 2007 to over 250 clubs in 2011. These students groups are eager to identify themselves with names that challenge the intellectual capacity of Christian students. Atheist groups often seek titles such as “Free Thinker Society,” the “Coalition of Reason,” or the “Center for Inquiry”. The implication, of course, is that Christians are ignorant and constrained by their antiquated worldview.

The Church will never begin to address the growing problem of young people leaving the faith if it doesn’t first recognize the challenges facing Christian students. It’s time to address the challenges facing students before they find themselves struggling to resist the cultural tide on their own.

06.05.17

Hi! Happy June!! I am praying for you right now! 

Daily Prayer Email: Please send any prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
Preaching is not only explaining the text but also using it to engage the heart. #keller
 
God put you here to glorify Him. That is why you’re here. And there will come a point in your life when you will realize that life is more about significance than it is about success. #laurie
 
Someone will always have better coffee, music, facilities, and speaking. Showcase Christ and his gospel. No one can improve on that. #wilson
 
FYI:

1. Connecting with college students over break: they’re bringing home more than their laundry…. https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/connecting-with-college-students?utm_source=E-Journal+%2F+Parent+Update&utm_campaign=19db082c32-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_05_26&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e88a54a953-19db082c32-312895925

2. Your kids actually want you to talk to them about sex… http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/24/health/sex-parents-talking-to-kids/index.html

3. What Screen Time and Screen Media Do To Your Child’s Brain and Sensory Processing Ability… https://handsonotrehab.com/screen-time-brain-sensory-processing/

4. 45 AWESOME DROP OF THE HAT ACTIVITIES (Below)
 
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
How to Teach Junior Highers Without Losing Your Mind by Kurt Johnston
Social Media Making Millennials Less Social by Uptin Saiidi
How We Got Here: Spiritual and Political Profiles of America by David Kinnaman
7 Deadly Sins of Student Ministry Volunteers by Chase Snyder
 

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.videosforyouth.com/mini-movies/65332/searching-for-truth
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
Courage by Chuck Swindoll
 
Someone once wrote, “Sow a thought, reap an act. Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap your character. Sow your character, reap your destiny.”

Standing tall when tested takes courage—constant, relentless, never-give-up courage! You can be sure that the old flesh will fight for its arousal and satisfaction. All it takes is a little rationalization—just a little. Just look the other way. Just shrug it off. Don’t sweat it. And before long you have a rattlesnake in your sleeping bag. 

First: Standing tall starts with the way we think. It has to do with the mind. As I’ve said so often, being a person of inner strength is really a mental factor. It has to do with the way we think about God, ourselves, and others. Then it grows into the way we think about business, the way we think about dating, the way we think about marriage and the family, the way we think about the system that is designed to destroy faith and bring us down to a lower standard. 

Second: Standing tall calls for strong discipline. This has to do with the will. Disciplining the eyes, the ears, the hands, the feet. Keeping moral tabs on ourselves, refusing to let down the standards. People of strength know how to turn right thinking into action—even when insistent feelings don’t agree. 

Third: Standing tall limits your choice of personal friends. This has to do with relationships. What appears harmless can prove to be dangerous. Perhaps this is as important as the other two factors combined. Cultivate wrong friendships and you’re a goner. This is why we are warned not to be deceived regarding the danger of wrong associations. Without realizing it, we could be playing with fire. 

Sow the wind and, for sure, you’ll reap the whirlwind. Eagles may be strong birds, but when the wind velocity gets fierce enough, it takes an enormous amount of strength to survive. Only the ultrapowerful can make it through the whirlwind.

 

The Five RE’s to Remembering names:

1. Repeat Names

Repetition builds memory. This is why your math teacher assigned you 50 of the same math problems for homework every night. The more you repeat a person’s name, the better chance you will have of remembering it later.

When you meet a person for the first time, say their name as much as possible. “Cool, Austin. Glad you are here, Austin. It was nice meeting you, Austin. Hope to see you next week, Austin.” The more you say it, the more it will stick.

2. Read Names

Read a person’s name in your mind. Visualize it. Spell it in your head. If you meet someone with an interesting name or a name that could be spelled multiple ways, ask them how they spell it. Then spell it in your head along with them. This may seem weird, but it works.

I can remember the names of hundreds of NFL athletes even though I have never met them or seen most of their faces without a helmet on. Why? Because I read their names every day on my favorite NFL news site.

3. Record Names

Keep a church database, or an app with people’s names on it. After the service, write new names down as soon as possible. Add little notes like “Natalie – married, two kids, husband Jeff, works at…”

Quickly review your notes once a week and picture the people in your mind. If you have a church database with people’s pictures, that is even better!

4. Relate Names

This is the most powerful memory tip on the list. When you hear a person’s name, find an image to relate it to.

In the fascinating book, Moonwalking With Einstein, Joshua Foer writes about his experience transforming in one year from an average guy who was bad at remembering names to winning the US Memory Championship. This is a competition where you have to do things like look at a list of hundreds of names and faces, then remember all the names of each face.

“The secret to success in the names-and-faces event—and to remembering people’s names in the real world—is simply to turn Bakers into bakers—or Foers into fours. Or Reagans into ray guns. It’s a simple trick, but highly effective.” ~Joshua Foer, Moonwalking With Einstein

Our brains remember images, not words. So turning a person’s name into an image is the best way to instantly recall it. The more vivid and bizarre the image, the better.

5. Remember to Remember Names

I know, “Thank you captain obvious!” Just hear me out.

Most often, the reason that we don’t remember names is simply because we do not consciously make an effort. We hear the name, but we are too busy thinking about what we are going to say next. Maybe we are preoccupied with the stress of the service or what we have to do later. Whatever the reason, we don’t intentionally listen to the name and make a conscious effort to store it away.

If you are intentional about remembering people’s names, you will remember them.

Hope these tips are helpful for you.

 

HERE ARE 45 AWESOME DROP OF THE HAT ACTIVITIES THAT YOU CAN EASILY ADD TO YOUR YOUTH WORKER TOOL-BELT.

RANDOM FUN

  • Beanboozled. Russian Roulette with candy. Maybe you will enjoy a peach-flavored jelly bean or maybe it will taste like barf. Yum.
  • KAP IT. Water bottle flipping game, but with objectives and boundaries!
  • HEADS OR TAILS. A coin flipping game where kids guess by putting their hands on the head or tail. Guess right and stay in, guess wrong and you’re out!
  • HEAD, SHOULDERS, KNEES, CUP! Follow the instructions and be the first person to grab the cup.
  • Minute to win it! Sixty seconds to complete takes using random items from around the house. HERE ARE 30 EXAMPLES.
  • Giant cup stack. Play the cup stack game but consider giant cups or buckets. Fastest stacker wins.
  • Mannequin challenge. Have the children freeze in place while you play a worship song and capture the video.

TEACHING OR REVIEW

  • TRUE/FALSE CHAIR. Think musical chairs but with true and false questions!
  • Books of the Bible team challenge. Books are listed on craft sticks in baggies. one for OT one for NT. Challenge each team to put one set in order the fastest.
  • Globe beach balls. Pass the ball around and wherever your thumb lands, pray for them.
  • Tic tac toe review. Divide the class into 2 teams. Ask questions, team 1 tries to answer. If they are correct, they get the x, if wrong, the question goes to team 2. The first team to get 3 in a row wins.
  • Family feud. Play with whatever you were talking about in large group.
  • Review game or Bible trivia. Get bean bags that you toss and the kids race to pick up the bag and bring it back to you in order to answer the question.
  • Share missionary stories. Update the kids on what the church is doing overseas.
  • Bible drill.

GET THEM MOVING

  • Freeze dance. Play music while the kids dance and when the music pauses all the kids must freeze in place. If they take too long then they have to do 10 jumping jacks.
  • CHICKEN IN THE HEN HOUSE. Partners will make shapes using their body. Last to complete are out!
  • Impossible shot. Create a very challenging challenge for students to take turns trying.
  • SHIP SHORE. Very similar to Simon says but directionally focused.
  • Musical chairs.
  • Four corners. Use a mega dice or colors to switch things up!
  • Simon says / Jesus says. Follow the directions and the more the leader laughs the more fun this game will be for the kids.
  • Red light/green light or wax museum. Don’t let the game leader see you moving! 
  • Crows & cranes. The leader calls out either “Crows” or “Cranes.” This lets you know if you are the tagger or the person being tagged.
  • Indoor snowball fight. Either buy fake snowballs or wrinkle up paper and throw them at each other. Consider adding a twist like capture the flag or protect the president.
  • Hip hop to it! Have all the kids hop on one leg while playing Christian hip-hop. If they stop they are out, if they switch feet they are out. The winner is the last one hopping.

GET THEM QUIET

  • SILENT BALL. Leader counts down, “3, 2, 1, silent” and passes the ball to another person in the play area. Drop the ball, make a bad pass or make a sound and you’re out.
  • Guess the time. Choose a time like 60 seconds and everyone tries to guess how long that is. Start the timer and kids hop up when they think 60 seconds is over. Time doesn’t stop till last kid stands. Note time when first kid stands just to get reactions.
  • SLEEPING LIONS. The room of kids go to sleep and the lions try to get them to wake up by telling jokes or being silly. Anyone who wakes up becomes the lion.
  • DOGGIE, DOGGIE, WHO STOLE YOUR BONE. Similar to heads up seven up but with an object that the kids go get.
  • The Quiet Game. Teams have to sit absolutely still and quiet for a timed period. Anywhere from a minute to five minutes.

COMMUNITY BUILDING

EASY CLASSROOM GAMES

  • Pictionary.
  • Hangman.
  • Parachute games.
  • I spy.
  • Rock, paper, scissors and creative variations. Egg, chicken, eagle.
  • Relay Games.
  • Feather blowing competition. Kids try to blow one another’s feathers off a table using a straw.
  • Juggling contest.
  • Keep the balloon up.

Consider using lesson review words or phrases in these games.

05.22.17

‘Adult’ is Not a Verb by John Stonestreet

breakpoint.org

There’s a new word touted by Webster that exposes a crisis in our culture of generational proportions.

It’s been called a lot of things: “Peter Pan Syndrome” or my favorite, “failure to launch,” but whatever the term, the phenomenon is undeniable. A record number of young people today are getting stuck in the transition between childhood and adulthood.

Despite attending college in record numbers, millennials seem to struggle to move on to the next phase of life. Just a decade ago, a healthy majority of young adults were able to successfully fledge. Now, those who’ve managed to leave the nest are a minority.

Of course, the recession and a sluggish job market are factors. Millennials do have tougher career prospects than their parents did. But the economy isn’t the only explanation, and the language young people use to talk about adulthood makes that obvious.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse announced that Twitter had turned the noun “adult” into a verb. “#Adulting” is what kids post on social media to congratulate themselves for the rather ordinary feats of paying the bills, finishing the laundry, or just getting to work on time.

“I adulted!” goes the saying, as if fulfilling daily responsibilities is somehow above and beyond the call of duty. “Adulting” has become so universally recognized that the American Dialect Society nominated it for the most creative word of 2015.

“To a growing number of Americans,” writes Sasse, “acting like a grown-up seems like a kind of role-playing, a mode of behavior requiring humorous detachment.”

This isn’t just the complaint of a crotchety old man about young whipper-snappers. What we’re witnessing today, insists the senator, is a trend toward “perpetual adolescence,”—a “coming-of-age crisis,” that shows up as a real and measurable reduction in the difference between 10-year-olds and 30-year-olds.

But if our kids don’t know what it means to be adults, parents, we should be asking ourselves, are we teaching them? Isolation in peer groups of the same age, widespread complacency toward history and ethics, unbridled consumerism, and even those infamous participation trophies have all contributed to this crisis.

We’ d do well to remember what C. S. Lewis wrote in “The Abolition of Man” of those who “remove the organ and demand the function,” who “make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise,” who “castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

Senator Sasse offers steps to reverse the trend of perpetual adolescence and to help kids from an early age understand the meaning of adulthood. Teach them the difference, he says, between a “need” and a “want,” embrace hard work together, travel meaningfully, and read widely. These are all important steps to forming mature citizens.

Older generations must start investing in the lives of young adults. Summarizing relevant research in 2013, The Boston Globe reported a staggering statistic: Only a quarter of Americans 60 and older had discussed anything important with anyone under 36 in the previous six months! Exclude relatives and that figure dropped to a mortifying 6 percent. How alien this would have sounded to the Apostle Paul, who in Titus 2 urges older men and older women to teach the younger.

Only by connecting and investing in their lives can we reasonably expect our kids, our grandkids, and their peers to understand that “adult” is not something you do. It’s someone you are.

05.15.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! 

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
Jesus didn’t come to earth to make bad people good people. He came to make dead people alive people. #holcomb
 
We become what we teach and what we learn. #godin
 
The best defense to the lies we hear from within our hearts is the rehearsal of truth – scripture. #keller
 
People are hungry for truth in this post-truth, post-fact culture, especially when it’s harder than ever to discern fact from fiction, reality from conspiracy theory. #jonestreet
 
FYI:
1. How we can minister to children who come from households with same-sex parents… http://childrensministry.com/articles/johnny-two-moms/?utm_source=internal_children’s_ministry_resource&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=
2. Depression… http://www.today.com/health/depression-s-not-word-depressed-teens-use-t111162
3. Classes teaching Millennials how to be adults… https://cassandra.co/life/2017/04/20/adulthood-101
4. The gender options on Facebook… (below)
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
Bullied in 5th Grade, Prone to Drug Abuse by High School by Valerie Earnshaw
Anxiety in Teens – How to Help a teenager Deal With Anxiety by Karen Young
Competing Worldviews Influence Today’s Christians by David Kinnaman (Barna Group)
Young Americans Are Killing Marriage by Ben Steverman
 

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.videosforyouth.com/mini-movies/14675/the-marshmallow-test?utm_source=vfynl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=resource2&utm_campaign=nl-05/12/2017-2099879
 
http://www.videosforyouth.com/mini-movies/26033/temptation?utm_source=vfynl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=resource1&utm_campaign=nl-05/12/2017-2099879
 
Here are 2 just for you:

Give Them Themselves

And [the Angel] said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” (Genesis 32:28)

Team members always love and admire a person who is able to help them go to another level, someone who enlarges them and empowers them to be successful.

Players who enlarge their teammates have several things in common.

  1. Enlargers value their teammates: People’s performances usually reflect the expectations of those they respect.
  2. Enlargers know and relate to what their teammates value: Players who enlarge others understand what their teammates value. That kind of knowledge, along with a desire to relate to their fellow players, creates a strong connection between teammates.
  3. Enlargers add value to their teammates: An enlarger looks for the gifts, talents, and uniqueness in other people, and then helps them to increase those abilities for their benefit and for that of the entire team.
  4. Enlargers make themselves more valuable: You cannot give what you do not have. If you want to increase the ability of a teammate, make yourself better.

Three Things You’ll Have to Say to the World to Live a Surrendered, Godly Life by J. Warner Wallace 

1 John 2:15
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

I know I’m just as likely as anyone else to love the world rather than the Father, so I consistently challenge my desires in three specific areas. I bet these aspects of life have tempted you as well, and if you’re a Christian leader, these are particularly important areas of concern. All of us, as good Christian ambassadors, need to speak to these challenges on a daily basis to resist the worldliness that threatens our character:

“I Will Not Allow Myself to Be Impressed with Money or Stuff”
I can’t allow money to dictate my choices. I’ve got to separate my “wants” from my “needs,” and recognize I already have everything I “need”; it’s time to get some control over my list of “wants”. I can either decide to chase the stuff I “want” and hope to be content once I get there, or decide to be content with what I already have. The older I get, the more I realize the pursuit of money and materialism has little or no relationship to happiness. Contentment is a choice. When the pursuit of money or stuff is removed from my decision making process, my decisions are far more Godly.

“I Will Not Allow Myself to Be Captivated by Lust or Passion”
We’re living in a sexualized culture that consumes our time and attention. The age of innocence is dangerously low; our kids are exposed to concepts and ideas at an early age. By the time we’re adults, unrestricted sexual or relational desire is a real danger, and it’s been the cause of many fallen Christian ministries and leaders. This is all about resisting the first step, the initial glance, and the early temptation. I need to be careful to guard my eyes and heart in this area if I hope to make Godly decisions.

“I Will Not Allow Myself to Be Fascinated by Fame or Influence”
The Internet has given all of us the potential for global impact and influence. It’s easy to get caught up in how many people “like” a post on our Facebook page, post a response to our blog entry, or visit our website. All of us, whether we choose to admit it or not, want to be known and heard. We’re enamored with celebrities who have the attention of the culture. We admire people who create videos that go viral. We secretly long for similar fame and attention. As my own career drew the attention of television producers and publishing houses, I knew it had the potential to derail my priorities. I can’t allow myself to make decisions based on how many people I can reach, even with something as valuable as the Gospel. Instead, I need to be faithful and content with the scope of influence God has given me.

If I want “the love of the Father” in me, I simply need to say “no” in three distinct areas of worldly temptation. God has already provided abundantly, but I am often unappreciative. He’s given me the money and material items I need, a wonderful relationship with my wife, and a mission field appropriate to my abilities. It’s my choice now to speak to my worldly desires; I’ve got to learn to say “enough is enough.” If you’re an ambassador for Christ, keep talking to the culture and speaking to your worldly desires. The difference between worldliness and Godliness is often product of this ongoing conversation.

LGBT+

Ever wondered why Facebook has so many gender options or what any of the letters in LGBTQQIP2SAA mean? The initialisms are as varied as the community they represent, and keeping up with the changes or what they mean can be hard. Yet knowing them can better prepare us for interacting with and ministering to the community, as well as for discipling teens through the issues they present.

Here are the official definitions of the 11 types of people represented by the letters. (Keep in mind that many consider “sexual orientation”—what sex/gender one is attracted to—as distinct from “gender identity”—what gender one identifies with.)

  • L = Lesbian, a female who is sexually attracted to other females.
  • G = Gay, a male who is sexually attracted to other males; also used as a general term for homosexual attraction.
  • B = Bisexual, someone who is attracted to both males and females.
  • T = Transgender, someone who identifies with a different gender than the one they were biologically born with.
  • Q = Queer, an umbrella term for anyone who doesn’t identify as cisgender or heterosexual, but who also may not identify as lesbian or gay and therefore prefers this broader, more ambiguous term.
  • Q = Questioning, someone who is unsure about their gender identity and/or their sexual orientation.
  • I = Intersex, someone whose sex characteristics (chromosomes, gonads, hormones, genitals) do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies (aka hermaphrodites).
  • P = Pansexual, someone is attracted to anyone of any sex or gender identity (aka “gender blind”).
  • 2S = Two-Spirit (used by some indigenous North Americans), someone who has both male and female spirits within them
  • A = Asexual, someone who lacks sexual attraction/desire to anyone.
  • A = Ally, someone who identifies as straight and cisgender but still wants to support those who don’t.

Other terms to know:

  • Cisgender = someone who identifies with the gender into which they were born.
  • U = Unsure, someone who is unsure of which gender they identify with or which gender they are attracted to.
  • C = Curious, someone who’s willing to explore their options.

Blessings, Kendall

05.01.17

Will Your Teenagers Graduate from Their Faith after High School? by Jonathan Morrow

christianparenting.org

Will your teenage son or daughter still be walking with Jesus when they graduate college? Or will they leave their faith behind as they walk off that graduation stage to start a new chapter of life?

As parents, we want what’s best for our kids. As Christians, we know that means following Jesus for a lifetime. That’s certainly what I want as a father of three. But we’ve also seen the stats and they’re not encouraging:

  • Depending on the study, approximately fifty percent will disengage from their faith during the college years (there is no indication from the research that they are or will come back).
  • Forty-seven percent of American emerging adults agreed that “morals are relative, there are not definite rights and wrongs for everybody.”
  • Fifty-four percent of “conservative protestant” teenagers affirmed that there was more than one way to God.

Welcome to College in Post-Christian America 

Did you know that a Harvard/George Mason University study found that one of four college professors is a professing atheist or agnostic (a percentage much greater than the general population, which is about five to seven percent)? As a parent, you need to know that College is not “Christian friendly.”

Today’s Christian student faces enormous pressure to bow to the tyranny of tolerance on campus. Certain moral and religious viewpoints are simply no longer allowed. The Bible is attacked and dismissed as a bigoted fairy tale that has long outlived its usefulness in our progressive society. Free speech seems to be protected for everyone except those who actually think Christianity is true.

As someone who has the privilege of teaching a lot of high school and college students, I can tell you from personal experience they are not ready. Many are simply not prepared for the ideas, experiences, and relationships that will challenge their faith during the college years and shape their future.

The good news is that they can be and it starts with you as the parent. Even as powerful as the shaping forces of our culture are, the research still shows that parents are the most influential factor in a child’s life during these formative years.

As I teach seminars for parents on how to help teenagers own their faith, one of the most common questions I get is “what can I do to get them ready and what are the most important things they need to know?” While I offer a more comprehensive answer in Welcome to College: A Christ-Follower’s Guide for the Journey, I want to briefly unpack the one thing you must do (and not do!) in order to help your teenager keep their faith in college. Yes, they still have to make their own choices, but this can make a huge difference!

One thing you must do:

The first thing you must do is create a safe place in your home for honest questions and sincere doubts. If you’ve ever thought very much about Christianity or the bible, then you have questions. We all just have to decide what to do with them.

So imagine your daughter finally gets up enough courage to share with you that she’s not sure if she believes in God anymore.

Hit the pause button. How you respond is critical, and you have two options—freak out on the outside or the inside. I advise you to freak out on the inside, and then calmly say something like this:

“That’s a great question. I’m glad you asked it. Can you tell me more about why you are thinking that?”

What you have done for them in this response is communicate that this is safe place, and that he/she can ask anything they want to ask.

Unfortunately, what happens sometimes in our churches, youth groups, and families is there is an unspoken “we don’t ask those kinds of things here” mindset.

There is a common misunderstanding that Christians are never supposed to ask questions or have doubts because it shows a lack of faith. This couldn’t be further from the truth! The opposite of faith is unbelief. Doubt is in the middle. Now, you don’t want to live there forever, but the pathway to a stronger faith involves walking through your doubts.

As moms and dads, we can set the tone for further conversations that build their faith along the way. Your relationship with them is the soil where truth can take root.

One thing you must not do:

Now that we’ve looked at what you must do, here’s one thing you must not do if you want your son or daughter to own their faith. If your teenager raises a tough question or shares an honest doubt with you, we can’t tell them to “stop thinking so hard about this and just have more faith.”

Two things happen when we do this with teens. First, they get frustrated and then, they become disillusioned. Think about it this way: if I ask a room full of students, “Who can hold their breath the longest?” some will last longer than others by sheer willpower. But eventually, they all have to take a breath. The blind faith view works the same way—some will hold on to their faith longer than others, but eventually they will have to take a breath.

Biblical faith is not blind. Faith is active trust in what you have good reason to believe. There have to be reasons for faith somewhere in there. A “don’t think, just believe” mentality creates two different worlds that students have to live in and navigate, and that is ultimately unhealthy and damaging to their faith.

This is not the time to abandon hope and run for the hills, but it is a time to prepare our students for the potential buzz saw to their Christian faith that is waiting for them on campus. That preparation begins in the home with us creating a safe space for honest questions and doubts while not encouraging a blind faith as they grow up.

02.20.17

Reaching Millennials: We Need to Check Our Attitudes Toward the Next Generation by Tiffany Deluccia

tonymorganlivecom

I mentor two girls from Generation Z at a local public middle school. Their teachers paired them up with me last year because they were failing the 6th grade.

Once I got to know them and the horrors of their home lives, I became much less interested in their grades than their hearts. These two were broken in ways few can comprehend. I spend the drive to their school in prayer every week, begging Jesus to give me words to say and questions to ask, and to know when to keep quiet.

Besides the emotional and physical pain they’ve experienced that I have not, they are born of a different generation than me, making it difficult to relate on a number of levels:

  • I learn about some new (read: bizarre) Internet subculture just about every week.
  • They spend their time on video games (disturbing ones, in my opinion), YouTube binges, Kik and Snapchat.
  • They have been bullied online and in person.
  • They have views on gender and sexuality I would never have expected a 12-year-old to possess, much less express.
  • One of them hates Christians — though she felt bad about saying that when she found out I am one — because her experience with some Christian family members would make you feel physically ill.

They are not like me, in the least. And yet Christ in me has found a way to connect. His words, His understanding, and His perspective are all that keeps me going to lunch each week. I am reminded of how insufficient I am each time I see them walking to meet me outside the lunchroom.

This article isn’t actually about Generation Z, though I feel deeply our churches need to be focused on them a lot more than we currently are. It’s actually about Millennials.

I’m guessing that the way I feel talking to people of Generation Z is how many senior church leaders today feel when talking to Millennials. Or reading their Facebook posts or viewing their Instagram feeds. There’s a disconnect that can be off-putting. I dislike feeling that I fundamentally don’t understand how another person sees the world. I imagine you can relate.

But here’s what I am discovering every week in a middle school guidance counselor’s office:

If we refuse to engage on a personal level with the people we go before, the people God has called us to lead, we handicap Christ’s ability to work through us. 

He is the bridge between generations. He is the wisdom for each moment, each conversation, each sermon prep session. 

It’s so much easier to read the headlines — to watch the show and allow the stereotypes to create monsters out of the people coming behind us — than it is to listen.


“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”  James 1:19 NLT


If you’ve already made up your mind that Millennials’ points of view on life, politics, marriage, work and religion are completely outrageous and unfounded, you’re writing off an entire generation. Few of us are aware enough of our prejudices to even hear how we sound when we speak about the next generation. We need to invite honest feedback. It’s rarely fun to engage in conversations with people who see the world differently, but doing so makes us stronger, more compassionate, more godly people.

I write this today as a challenge to myself as much as to church leaders ahead of me on their spiritual journey:

Let’s do the hard work of opening our hearts to people we don’t understand in the generations coming after us. God will do the seemingly impossible work of creating love and understanding between us.

02.20.17

Will You Ever Grow-Up?: 7 Marks of Maturity by Tim Elmore

goodmenproject.com

You may have noticed a paradox that exists among students today. Although there are exceptions to the rule, this generation of kids is advanced intellectually, but behind emotionally. They are missing many of the marks of maturity they should possess.From an intellectual perspective, students today have been exposed to so much more than I was growing up—and far sooner, too. They’ve consumed  information on everything from cyberspace to sexual techniques before they graduate from middle school. Everything is coming at them sooner.Sociology professor Tony Campolo said, “I am convinced we don’t live in a generation of bad kids. We live in a generation of kids who know too much too soon.”

On the other hand, students have been stunted in their emotional maturity. They seem to require more time to actually “grow up” and prepare for the responsibility that comes with adulthood. This is a result of many factors, not the least of which is well-intentioned parents who hover over their kids not allowing them to experience the pain of maturation. It’s like the child who tries to help the new butterfly break out of the cocoon, and realizes later that they have done a disservice to that butterfly. The butterfly is not strong enough to fly once it is free.

There is another reason, however, that teens struggle with maturation. Scientists are gaining new insights into remarkable changes in teenagers’ brains that may explain why the teen years are so hard on young people and their parents. From ages 11-14, kids lose some of the connections between cells in the part of their brain that enables them to think clearly and make good decisions.

Pruning the Brain

What happens is that the brain is pruning itself—going through changes that will allow a young person to move into adult life effectively. “Ineffective or weak brain connections are pruned in much the same way a gardener would prune a tree or bush, giving the plant a desired shape,” says Alison Gopnik, Professor of Child Development at UC Berkley.

“They can become paralyzed by all the content they consume.”

Adolescents who are experiencing these brain changes can react emotionally, according to Ian Campbell, a neurologist at the U.C. Davis Sleep Research Laboratory. Mood swings, uncooperative and irresponsible attitudes can all be the result of these changes occurring. Sometimes, students can’t explain why they feel the way they do. Their brain is changing from a child brain to an adult brain.

Regions that specialize in language, for example, grow rapidly until about age 13 and then stop. The frontal lobes of the brain which are responsible for high level reasoning and decision making aren’t fully mature until the early 20s, according to Deborah Yurgelun-Todd, a neuroscientist at Harvard’s Brain Imaging Center. There’s a portion of time when the child part of the brain has been pruned, but the adult portion is not fully formed. They are “in-between.” They are informed but not prepared.

The bottom line?

Students today are consuming information they aren’t completely ready to handle. The adult part of their brain is still forming and isn’t ready to apply all that our society throws at it. Their mind takes it in and files it, but their will and emotions are not prepared to act on it in a healthy way. They can become paralyzed by all the content they consume.

They want so much to be able to experience the world they’ve seen on websites or heard on podcasts, but don’t realize they are unprepared for that experience emotionally. They are truly in between a child and an adult. I believe a healthy, mature student is one who has developed intellectually, volitionally, emotionally and spiritually. I also believe there are marks we can look for, as we coach them into maturity.

Signs to Look For

So what are the marks of maturity? We all love it when we see a young person who carries themselves well and shows signs of being mature. They interact with adults in an adult manner. Those kinds of students are downright refreshing. Let me give you a list of what I consider to be the marks of maturity. At Growing Leaders we seek to build these marks in young people, ages 16-24 as we partner with schools. This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, but it is a list of characteristics I notice in young people who are unusually mature, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. If you are a parent—this is a good list of qualities to begin developing in your child. If you are a coach, or a teacher or a dean, these are the signs we wish every student possessed when they graduate. For that matter, these are signs I wish every adult modeled for the generation coming behind them.

1. A mature person is able to keep long-term commitments.

One key signal of maturity is the ability to delay gratification. Part of this means a student is able to keep commitments even when they are no longer new or novel. They can commit to continue doing what is right even when they don’t feel like it.

2. A mature person is unshaken by flattery or criticism.

As people mature, they sooner or later understand that nothing is as good as it seems and nothing is as bad as it seems. Mature people can receive compliments or criticism without letting it ruin them or sway them into a distorted view of themselves. They are secure in their identity.

3. A mature person possesses a spirit of humility.

Humility parallels maturity. Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself. It is thinking of yourself less. Mature people aren’t consumed with drawing attention to themselves. They see how others have contributed to their success and can even sincerely give honor to their Creator who gave them the talent. This is the opposite of arrogance.

4. A mature person’s decisions are based on character not feelings.

Mature people—students or adults—live by values. They have principles that guide their decisions. They are able to progress beyond merely reacting to life’s options, and be proactive as they live their life. Their character is master over their emotions

5. A mature person expresses gratitude consistently.

I have found the more I mature, the more grateful I am, for both big and little things. Immature children presume they deserve everything good that happens to them. Mature people see the big picture and realize how good they have it, compared to most of the world’s population.

6. A mature person knows how to prioritize others before themselves.

A wise man once said: A mature person is one whose agenda revolves around others, not self. Certainly this can go to an extreme and be unhealthy, but I believe a pathway out of childishness is getting past your own desires and beginning to live to meet the needs of others less fortunate.

7. A mature person seeks wisdom before acting.

Finally, a mature person is teachable. They don’t presume they have all the answers. The wiser they get the more they realize they need more wisdom. They’re not ashamed of seeking counsel from adults (teachers, parents, coaches) or from other sources. Only the wise seek wisdom.

In my latest book, Artificial Maturity, I offer practical solutions for parents to instill the marks of maturity in their kids. Susan Peters once said, “Children have a much better chance of growing up if their parents have done so first.” Here’s to modeling and developing authentic maturity in your kids.

Based on this list, are you displaying the marks of maturity? How about your kids?

02.13.17

Why Millennials Are Staying in the Nest by Jonathan McKee

youthministry.com
It’s the American dream: Grow up, attend the right school, graduate…and then move into Mom’s basement! Okay, maybe that last part is the new “amended” dream.

A record number of 20-somethings are opting to live at home rather than leave the nest. Specifically, 40 percent of American Millennials (young people ages 20 to 35) currently live with their parents. By comparison, that number was 27 percent back in 1991, when I got my first apartment at age 21.

Why aren’t young adults spreading their wings?

Money Matters

At first glance, Millennials seem quite “spendy.” After all, at their age we didn’t walk into work sipping a $4 coffee and thumbing an $800 iPhone. More than 45 percent of 18- to 23-year-olds have spent more on coffee than investing in their retirement. And yes, they love their phones. Almost all young adults own smartphones, and about two-thirds subscribe to on-demand video services such as Netflix or Hulu (with many mooching off a parent’s account).

Despite studies showing that Millennials struggle to manage their finances, we “older folks” can show a little understanding.  Let’s step into their shoes for a moment (something I wish I would’ve done more as a parent)…

The Real Numbers

First, apartment rent is higher than ever. It increased 4.6 percent in 2015 alone, the biggest leap since before the recession. I know several Millennials who were on their own but recently moved back home (as “boomerang kids”) when their monthly rent went up by three digits.

Rent hikes are a drop in the bucket compared to the mountainous spikes in education costs. In 1980, the average annual cost of tuition, room, board, and fees at a four-year college was $9,438. Now it’s $23,872! That’s a 260 percent increase, and it’s staggering when compared to the 120 percent increase in all consumer items. And compared to 1980, up to 19 percent more young people are completing at least four years of college.

Higher costs mean greater debt. The average debt burden for college graduates has more than doubled within the Millennial Generation. On graduation day, members of the class of 2016 were strapped with an average of $37,172 in student loans, compared to $18,271 for the class of 2003. Most students take 10 years to pay off that debt, forking out an average of $429 monthly. (Or 7.5 years if they pay an extra $100 a month.)

Maybe that’s why more than one-third of graduates regret going to college because of the debt. In fact:

  • 49 percent believe they would have reached the same level in their career even if they hadn’t gone to college.
  • 63 percent say they’re relying on a one-off event, such as winning the lottery or getting an inheritance, to pay off student loans.

But at least this better-educated generation is earning more than their parents, right? Sadly, not much. Here’s where the numbers differ. A new analysis of Federal Reserve data claims that Millennials, with a median household income of $40,581, actually earn 20 percent less than Baby Boomers did at the same life stage. The report states, “Education does help boost incomes, but the median college-educated millennial with student debt is only earning slightly more than a Baby Boomer without a degree did in 1989.” And the median net worth of Millennials is 56 percent less than it was for Boomers.

Sounds bleak. But just a few years ago, Pew Research revealed a more optimistic picture, showing a slight increase in income by generation when using today’s dollars. It also revealed a greater disparity in income between college and high school grads. For example, in 2015 a person with a bachelor’s degree made an average of $1,980 more per month than someone with just a high school diploma. (An extra $2,000 a month sure helps pay off that college debt!)

So how are “on-their-own” Millennials paying bills? With their thumbs. When they’re on their phones, young adults aren’t just scrolling through Snapchat stories.

  • They’re thumbing rides because they don’t own cars. In fact, more than half either don’t intend to purchase a car or don’t consider that a priority. Only 15 percent of Millennials say a vehicle is really important. Another 25 percent say it’s important but not a big priority.
  • Millennials also moonlight, using their skills to earn extra money. The networking site LinkedIn says the number of young adults who freelance on the side is growing logarithmically, far faster than the number of full-time freelancers.
  • Young adults also tend to be savvy shoppers. Most shop with phone in hand, comparing prices and searching for the best deals. Millennials are actually less likely than previous generations to buy something simply because it’s convenient. Instead, they focus on value.

Keep Talking!

Parents should resist the urge to say, “When I was your age…” Because, all things being equal, you’ll also have to admit, “I made more, paid less in rent, paid less for school, and spent way more money on my car!”

Instead, engage in practical conversations (not lectures) about budgeting and spending . My dad showed me how to make a budget on a napkin. He let me choose how to spend my money, but I had to make a budget and stick with it. If I wanted to spend half my money on girls (I did), then that was my choice (a bad one). But I learned to notice what I spent.

If your kids spend too much on Starbucks, don’t forbid it; just make them track their spending. They might think twice when they sit down at month’s end and have to write “coffee, $96.”

Help your kids think about the future. If they’re in college, take them to dinner and affirm them. Share ways their hard work now will pay off later. Show them numbers from the sources above, if that helps.

If you have high schoolers or middle schoolers, still take them out to dinner and affirm them. Discuss their educational goals and provide information to guide their decisions. Show your kids charts revealing the income disparity between people who earn degrees and those who don’t.

If you have toddlers, take them to Chuck E. Cheese and jump in the ball pit together. Then, when you tuck them in at night, read books. Readers are learners, and your kids will probably want to go to college before you even bring it up.

11.01.16

5 Reasons Today’s College Students Are Nothing Like We Were by Matthew Shuler

fulleryouthinstitute.org

Kids these days. Snap me, kik me, hundo p v savage RT, what?

Connecting with young people isn’t easy. It’s difficult to empathize with something when you don’t understand it, and often even the way young people talk leaves us mystified.

It’s become clear that our nation’s healthiest churches are churches where young people and older people sit side-by-side, week after week, talking to each other, understanding each other, serving together, and connecting with one another.

So how can we connect with young people? The first step is understanding them.

Every year a survey is released to 100,000 college freshmen at four-year colleges across the country, and miraculously they actually complete it. The schools are blindly selected by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles to ensure that the sample is as diverse as possible. Here’s what we know about the class of 2018 so far:

1) They don’t hang with friends as much.

The average freshman used to socialize for 16+ hours on any given week, but no longer. That percentage is at a record low, dropping from 34% to 18% of students in the past 10 years.

(Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA)

Predictably, time spent on virtual social networking platforms continues to scale rapidly—from 19% of students spending 16+ hours per week in 2007, to 27% of students today. The primary social development space is shifting from physical space to digital space, which leaves you and I wondering, “so how exactly are we supposed to interact with these new generations?”

This is a bit of a problem for those of us born before the internet, because most of our social skills were developed for an offline environment, and today’s freshmen are developing those same skills for an online environment. Socially they’re communicating in a completely different dialect.

How can we connect with young adults when they aren’t as interested in being together face-to-face? How can we as leaders and parents connect our native ways of communicating with their digital dialect?

And as we work to integrate young people into our communities, what would “digital mentorship” look like? What does this mean about our concepts of “teaching” and “discipleship?”

2) They’re less religious than ever before… or at least less tribal.

As I’m sure you’ve read, the percentage of students who respond “none” to religious preference has been steadily climbing since 1981, and is now at an all-time high of 28%.

(Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA)

Even more interesting, this trend is also reflected at Christian universities, a place we usually assume attracts only the religiously affiliated. Even the most stable segment, Catholic colleges, experienced a climb to 15% who respond “none,” which is over four times higher than the previous average.

In our schools, our churches, in our small groups and in our homes, we are increasingly surrounded by people who attend and participate in our communities, but who do not self-identify as part of our tribe.

What does this mean about how we communicate our values clearly? What is it about our organizations that young adults don’t trust?

If nothing else, this trend helps us be increasingly mindful of each person in our community, and the differences that are sure to be lurking just beneath the surface. Our ministries and colleges, even Christian colleges, are no longer tribes of homogenous belief, they are increasingly diverse and nuanced. Asking unassuming questions is one of the best ways for organizations to embrace this new reality.

3) They didn’t party much in high school.

Alcohol consumption prior to college has been falling steadily since the 80’s, and is lower than ever before. Fewer than half say they “frequently” or “occasionally” drank wine, beer, or hard liquor during high school.

(Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA)

Frequent smoking is also falling fast, from 9% in 1981 to the current 2%. Nice try Mad Men.

While a minority of young people do face harmful substance abuse problems, and those problems should be taken very seriously, the common belief that our ministries and churches should be a “safe space for college kids to socialize without the booze” is perhaps no longer the best use of our time and resources. Young adults are facing a myriad of urgent issues, but those issues are no longer the issues we have structured our organizations to solve.

So, what are young people struggling with?

4) College freshmen are more depressed than ever before.

It messes with me every time I read about this trend. Mental health sets another record this year—it’s worse than ever. Approximately 10% of college freshmen report feeling “frequently” depressed, and only half report that their “emotional health” is at an acceptable level.

This is a significant deviation from freshmen respondents in the past, who reported much higher satisfaction with their psychological wellbeing across the board.

Here’s an article we did about naming and navigating depression in the lives of young people.

Mental health is already complex, but when you layer in the complexities of today’s Mach 5 world, along with the beehive of growing responsibilities imposed on our young people, things get confusing fast. It’s often difficult for us as leaders and parents to envision the kinds of spaces young people need in our ministries, spaces that facilitating mental healing and sustained flourishing. As additional resources come online for creating these new spaces, I’ll come back and link them here.

5) They’re already planning on grad school.

The 4-year college cliché is dead, but we still think it’s alive, like Bruce Willis. Among college freshmen, 43% are aiming for a master’s degree, and 33% expect to earn a doctorate.

In previous years, only students pursuing careers as doctors and lawyers were signing up for 8-10 years of education rather than 4, but now half of all students are making that same commitment, or assuming they will have to make it. That’s twice the students taking on twice the commitment.

(Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA)

This doubles the length of time students require assistance from parents and student loans, which has caused tremendous strain on both the families of students, and the students themselves.

This extended support period often becomes a black hole in our ministries, as many of us have yet to develop a system that provides the kind of support this demographic needs. Our college freshmen are beginning a long, difficult journey, a journey with rules that change every few years and require constant adaptation by our young people as the world continues to evolve at an unprecedented rate.

So what does this mean for our ministry?

One thing is clear: college freshmen are a demographic we leaders and parents are struggling to understand.

As we open ourselves to young people, remember that they are, in many ways, from a completely different planet than the one that existed when we went to college. May we not make assumptions about their planet and how life works on their world. May we ask questions, and expect answers that do not always make sense.