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Editor's journey

The sad truth

DALLAS — We asked three editors to walk the streets of three cities and, at random, to interview young people. The reporters — Kirk Noonan, Scott Harrup and John W. Kennedy — were instructed to survey young people about their priorities, fears, beliefs and lifestyles. This special edition of the Pentecostal Evangel chronicles their encounters with youth in Portland, Ore.; Harrison, Ark.; and Raleigh, N.C.

Portland, Ore.: 'Heaven can wait'

Harrison, Ark.: 100 churches and a lost generation

Raleigh, N.C.: The American dream?

The sad truth

Undoubtedly you’ll be troubled by what you read. Granted, interviewing dozens of young people doesn’t yield a scientific study. But I’m convinced the attitudes and values held by these youth are shared by millions of teen-agers in the United States. Like their parents, many have embraced materialism, promiscuity, alcohol and drugs.

Some have adopted a brand of religion that says, "All that matters is having fun today. What happens tomorrow will take care of itself." They aren’t enticed by promises of eternal life or streets of gold. They want to know what living for Jesus will do for them today.

Many church youth groups, meanwhile, are experiencing a revival atmosphere, and a growing number of students are taking a stand for Christ on their campuses. But we must not be lulled into believing the young people in our congregations are safe — immune to temptation and peer pressure. Each day they are forced to make a decision to follow their friends or follow Jesus Christ.

Today is National Youth Day for the Assemblies of God. Let me encourage you to request a list of young people who attend your church and place it in your Bible. Pray for the teen-agers by name — that God will protect them and use them to reach this wayward generation.

The sad truth is that a young man or woman in your church today may ultimately succumb to temptation and peer pressure and deny the existence of God. But your prayers, your love, your example may be the keys to keeping them in the family of God for a lifetime.

— Hal Donaldson

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