BALTIMORE, Md. – Millennials are the first generation in history to be more influenced outside the home than inside, a major youth leader said, citing author Josh McDowell. If the churches don't change, the nation may become a post-Christian America.
"Katrina's coming!" shouted Teen Mania founder Ron Luce at his 34th Battle Cry Leadership Summit in a short span of 2-1/2 months. A "moral Katrina," that is.
Katrina had left the Gulf Coast in unprecedented ruins last August, laying bare the poverty that much of the nation was unaware of and leaving thousands stripped of all they had. A moral Katrina would result in much of the same devastation: revealing the secular influences shaping teens that Christians are unaware of and leaving America stripped of a generation of Christians.
Ashley Davis, assistant pastor at Island Alliance Church in Stevensville, Md., was "shocked" at the dwindling Christian teen numbers and the amount of media influence teens today are being saturated with. He was one of many parents and pastors who have been oblivious to American culture today and was now compelled to do what Luce has been urging for the past 20 years.
"I want to go tell them all," said Davis, 40, who was driven to get the word out about the media-targeted teens starting with his congregation of 250 people.
Luce told the crowd of pastors and youth leaders to look beyond their own youth ministry and church and see "what's really going on in America."
The alarming statistics have been preached over and over at Teen Mania's youth and leaders events for years. But the "4 percent" statistic – the percentage of teenagers who will be Bible-believing Christians as adults – continues to stop Christians in their tracks every time.
Plus, for the first time in American history, Luce says, youth are saturated with media influence; we live in a sexualized culture; and we have point and click pornography.
The solution, Luce puts forward, is a battle cry.
"I'm living like a man ... out of my mind for the next five years," said Luce, who doesn't want any "should haves" or "could haves" when the five years are up.
His suggestion to the churches: "not doing ministry 'business as usual.'"
"If we don't change that 4 percent, we all lose."
Teen Mania has been going non-stop since the launch of Battle Cry early this year, giving churches a wake-up call and trying to round up 100,000 churches to double and disciple their youth groups each year for the next five years.
"We're going in the teenage business," Luce said, just as the media has.
"Hallelujah!" shouted the pastors and youth leaders in a war cry committing to win back teens.
The Battle Cry Leadership Summit was held at the M&T Bank Stadium, home to the Baltimore Ravens, where Teen Mania will host a large-scale Battle Cry stadium event with tens of thousands of teens next year.