I consider myself fairly adept at recognizing how outreach efforts are coming across. Ever since I was nine or ten, I’ve been fascinated with different ages and demographics. I loved, and still do love, observing people and how they interact. It’s easy for me to notice the problems in evangelism efforts, and I usually have ideas on how to make them more relevant and appropriate. It’s one of the gifts God has given me, I think.
I discussed judgmental evangelism in my previous post, and now I’d like to bring your attention to something I call “trendy” evangelism. In order to attract teenagers to the faith, many believers – usually people who aren’t teenagers themselves – construct a “hip” Christianity. Christian adults think that being cool and trendy will bring teenagers to God, or at least keep Christianity relevant. The cooler, the better. It’s not something that makes me angry; it’s just pitiful. They mean well, but they just end up looking like they’re trying too hard.
You see this kind of thing with pictures of Bible verses sprayed on brick walls in neon graffiti, or “Biblezines,” excessive use of outdated text lingo, or phrases like “Teenz Luv Christ.” It’s easy to see through.
Honestly, I suspect that most teenagers are looking for simplicity. A website with a clean interface and direct information about the Lord would leave a better impression than a cluttered, “trendy” site with horrible graphic designing and cheesy quips.
Teenagers don’t need to be talked to like we’re special and different. We don’t need people to replace all their S’s with Z’s (and we don’t do that anyway). We don’t need trendy phrases for everything. In order to bring young people into the kingdom of God, adults are trying to “out-teen” the teens. It comes across as just silly and misinformed.