Earlier this year Lisa and I were reminded of a simple principle that has a lot to do with your concern for children and teens, along with our work here at CPYU. Perhaps you remember me blogging about our trip with Compassion International to see their work in Rwanda and Kenya back in May. Lisa and I had supported Compassion and a Compassion child in some very small ways for several years. Our understanding of Compassion’s work and our child’s life was limited to occasional newsletters and printed updates. Then we went and saw it all with our own eyes. We saw the mission field and we saw the work. . . . and we were impacted and changed.

Seeing and experiencing the mission field firsthand. . . . you’ve got to do it. That’s the principle I want you to grasp. That’s why I want to encourage you to step way out of your comfort zone to do something this Sunday night that you most likely would not do otherwise. At 9pm Eastern Time, MTV will be airing their annual Video Music Awards (aka VMAs). Two hours. . . that’s all you need.

Before tuning in, consider this fact: research indicates that the average 8 to 18-year-old engages with media for six-and-a-half hours every day. Music and music video are a big part of that daily media diet. In addition, you need to realize that these are kids locked in their formative years. Their values, attitudes, and beliefs – all things that inform and shape behavior – are being molded now. With the increased absence of parents in their lives, they are left to turn to the institution of the media to be shaped.

If you choose to watch nothing else on Television all year, don’t miss the VMAs. I am convinced that they offer a concise and very telling peek into where youth culture has come from, where it is, and where it’s going in the coming months. Resist the temptation to turn it off and watch something else. Why? Because this is the world of today’s kids. If we want to speak the unchanging truths of God’s Word into the realities they face, well, then we must know the realities. Watch the VMAs on Sunday night to see and experience the mission field.

For those of you who choose do so, go a bit further as you watch. Keep a pen in your writing hand and a pad on your lap. Watch with a critical and discerning eye while answering these questions:

Based on what I’m seeing on the VMAs. . . -who are we as a culture?
-what do we value in our culture?
-what do we believe in our culture?
-how are we choosing to live in our culture?

Then, contrast your answers with answers to the following questions:

Based on what I read in God’s unchanging Word. . .
-who has God made us to be?
-what has God commanded us to value?
-what has God called us to believe?
-how has God called us to live?

Now. . . . how are we going to bridge the gap and reach this mission field? What messages must we send? How are we going to do that? I look forward to our discussion on Monday morning.

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