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An open letter to the teenagers of this nation

worship, praise, millennials
Unsplash/Hannah Busing

Teenagers of this nation, it is time for you rise up and fulfill a God-given mission. You and only you best understand those living in this culture. You grew up with them. They are from your family, your town, your city, and your nation. It is time to realize that the adults of your world have meant well, and that they care about you very much. However, as generation gaps have differed in different time periods in history, this one is too wide for most adults to understand. Changes in education, technology, and culture have been moving so rapidly that to try to reach into that world is beyond their comprehension. So Mr. Teen, and Ms. Teen, it's going to fall on your shoulders to build the bridges, straighten the roads, and rewrite the maps that will set a pathway for generations to follow.

You can do this! However, it’s going to require something from you. You must begin to build up your relationship with God through Christ so that God can direct you and give you wisdom. He wants and needs to raise you up as effective ambassadors for Him in this hour, but it will be up to you to stay yielded to Him so that He can effectively do that. It starts in your own heart. In your own heart you already feel the pain of some friends and some others; you barely know but you can tell that they are hurting. You may be even at a point where you sense that if someone doesn’t do something soon something bad may be about to happen to someone you know. This is the call of God!

You see, the call of God is often no more than a love feeling, a feeling of love deep down in your heart for a person, a school, a city or a people group. Some wait for something overwhelming or almost controlling before they take action but in reality because He is such a gentleman a better word for the call of God is the word compelling. His love is gentle, it’s beautiful, it’s loving but it begins often with a little tug to compel you to do something to reach someone. Teenagers, you are like a well-trained Special Forces Unit, to go into a country and complete a very special mission. You are called to reach your own generation for God.

How often have you rolled your eyes at someone who was trying to reach teenagers? You could tell they were clueless.  You are revealing by your actions that have to get involved being a team leader and a teen educator, to help interpret this people and its culture and language to those who can’t!

Teenagers, one big lie you have been told about life, which you are going to have to overcome is “Life is about serving number one!” If you are all about number one you will not be able to answer this call, so you must move past the number one lie. Not only must you move past it, but you must make it a part of your strategy to undo that lie in other teenagers’ lives as well. The reason that it is not only a lie, but a big lie is that it sounds so good, so right, so believable. It has a very disappointing end which takes some people years to figure out. It is also a lie that leads many to commit suicide because they feel so depressed when they realize that they will not obtain what they want for themselves out of life. So Mr. Teen, Ms. Teen, this is falling on you! You have to do this! You must reach other teens however you can!

It's been proven that people learn the best from people who they believe care about them the most. Teenage leaders are in the most part the most effective leaders of other teens. In my most successful youth ministry I formed what I called a “Youth Action Team.” I took about seven of my older teens and met once a month to plan out the weekly youth group activities. It was a huge success. Do you know why? Because teenagers are the most effective communicators to other teenagers!

You see teens, you do not have to be a public speaker, or comedian, or talented musician with a guitar or piano to minister effectively. There will always be those who God has gifted in those areas whom He will use. Do you know what professional psychologists have discovered is one of the most powerful tools in helping someone get through a hard place in their life? It’s being a good listener! People need someone who will just be a good enough friend to just listen. Anybody can do that, right? You just have to realize that we are in an hour in history when God is calling you to do that for someone. Be willing perhaps even on Facebook to be the one who will just mostly listen to someone else pour out their pain or frustrations. You guys will win this battle one young person at a time.

So teenagers, as I have said in the past, the problem with school shootings in America will not be solved by adults even though they are putting forth their best efforts. The young people of this country can solve school shootings, if they receive the call of God. A teenager who became a human shield and saved many others lives solved a recent school shooting. He sacrificed his life to save others! You are the ones who will make cyber-bullying wickedly wrong in your peer’s minds. You are the ones who will be the kind and encouraging voice to the ones who are depressed. You are the ones who God will raise up in these last days to be a channel of His love to a hurting generation that nobody understands like you. You can do this!

Rev Nolan J Harkness is the President and CEO of Nolan Harkness Evangelistic Ministries Inc. since 1985. He spent most of his adult life working in youth ministry. He also felt the calling of Evangelist/Revivalist and traveled as the door was open holding evangelistic meetings in churches throughout the Northeast. His website is

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