youth ministry, youth worker, justice

The Justice Generation

By Doug Franklin August 4, 2010

I picked up the most recent copy of Leadership Journal yesterday and it’s whole theme is on Biblical justice. It’s a great issue. One article caught my attention in this most recent journal. The Justice Generation by Bethany Hoang. It’s a great piece (although not long enough) about how youth today seem to be more concerned with justice issues than multiple generations before them. Bethany says that “The rising concern for justice is seen most dramatically among the younger generation in the church. Christians in college, high school, even middle and elementary school are putting extraordinary emphasis on justice as part of their Christian witness, and established churches and ministries are taking notice.”

I love this quote. I love that she has the insight to include high school, middle and elementary school as well. And I love how she mentions that churches are starting to take notice. Isn’t this true though? When students take a stand for something they believe in, it’s contagious. I’ve seen whole churches improve their focus on justice because their students led the way. Their passion inspires us all.

But Bethany brings up a problem as well. Here she is again, quoting Wayne Baynard, from International Justice Mission: “The needed solutions to address [student’s] passion for justice require a long-term commitment, which is challenging for a generation who cut their teeth on convenience. We’ve not taught them to delay gratification, wo why would we expect that their passion for any issue would last beyond the first taste of disillusionment?”

Baynard brings up a good point. But we must not stop with just teaching our students about delaying gratification. Nor should we stop with just teaching our students about the power of Biblical justice. If we teach our students solid leadership principles and allow them to apply them in their passion areas, we’ll start to see more students staying committed to justice issues. We are surprised when they quit, yet we have never taught them to finish strong. We are shocked when they let a relational problem destroy their movement, yet we’ve never taught them about conflict resolution.

The point is, if we focus on teaching our students strong leadership principles and walking through experiences with them the whole way, they truly will be the justice generation, and not just a cool name.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More