There may be no one more experienced in teenage ministry than Josh McDowell. For 50 years now he has talked to teens like these at Tyler's Grace Community School. He's hosted radio shows and written dozens of books. Every generation of teen is different he says. Especially today's.
"There's one word that describes this generation over any other generation, "whatever." And that's why this generation for the most part doesn't know how to think logically. And the probably never will," says McDowell
Every generation has faced its challenges he says, but today is may be the greatest. The speed and availability of information challenges every facet of a teen's life and their beliefs. While McDowell believes whole heartedly in the power of prayer...he also believe today's teen needs more than just prayers of their parents. And those prayers he says be better put to use on someone besides your teen.
"The house may be together but there is not the relationship. As a result they don't have that family to fall back on for morality. What's right and what's wrong and the encouragement and teaching and that effects a child," says McDowell "and you take the Internet where everything that they believe is challenged younger and younger and younger their walking away."
"Parents first of all need to know one thing. Truth without relationships lead to rejection, rules without relationships lead to rebellion, discipline without relationship leads to bitterness, anger and resentment. Its the relationship stupid, its the relationship. As Bill Clinton said about the economy. Its the economy, stupid. If we don't build loving, caring, intimate relationships with our children it doesn't matter what we teach them or how much we pray for them, they'll go to the wayside."
"And so I say to people, pray for your kids. But I'll tell you this you can pray all you want but if you don't build a relationship with them, forget it. They'll walk away."
"Instead of praying for your child, pray for yourself. Because a parent is not responsible for a child. That's fallacy. If I thought I was responsible for my children I would go out of my mind. Teenagers could drive you nuts. I'm not responsible for my three daughters and my son. I'm responsible to my children not for, to them. I'm responsible to love them. To love the Lord thy God with all my heart, mind and soul. I'm responsible to live out Christ before them. I'm responsible to love their Father. To give the model of a happy marriage. I'm responsible to teach my children, to pray for my children. I responsible to love them, to listen to them, to hurt with them, to share with them, to be involved in their lives. What they do with it is not my responsibility."
"So you need to more prayer for yourself that you will be faithful to your child."