Read an Excerpt
A secret lingers in the hearts of America's teenagers. This secret is so dear to them and yet so destructive that, left unchecked, it threatens to sabotage their faith, their families, and their future. This secret, like some poisonous gas, threatens to float unseen into their lives and choke off all their potential, all their power, and all their dreams. It is a silent predator in the jungle of their destiny, lurking deftly through the underbrush of their psyche, threatening to devour their potential alive and whole before they have made their mark on the future.
This secret must be discovered. It must be defined, dealt with, and dispelled before more precious teenagers fall under its influence and power.
This secret is whispered aloud only when no one is looking. It is tearfully breathed into wet pillows between desperate sobs. It has risen like a curse from the dogmatic lips of unkind hearts-hearts so darkened with malice that the light of Christ has never shined upon them. This secret has been spoken by twisted mouths, which through clenched teeth have spoken words of disgust and hatred. This secret has been hurled like a stone at young people, even from the mouths of parents, counselors, and teachers-people who should love them too deeply to cut them so cruelly.
This secret has been inscribed on the walls of their hearts by unfair circumstances and then cemented to their self-esteem by rejections and abuse. Pain and loss have reinforced this thinking, and like a symphony of pain, this secret has been repeated through the movements of their lives. It has been repeated at the schoolhouse; in the images of the media; through their songs, videos, and movies.
This secret must not be allowed to loiter any longer in the shadows; the bright light of Christ's truth must shine on it.
This secret must be shared. We must shout it from the rooftops and then shatter it by casting it down from that great height. It must be robbed of its power and unmasked as a lie.
The secret is very simple, but its strength to conquer our youth is locked up in its simplicity. Too many of America's teenagers secretly believe they are losers.
Behind the Secret
Maybe their families, their schools, or their communities have reinforced this secret so profoundly into their thinking. Maybe their backgrounds have contained so much rejection or they have been physically, mentally, or sexually abused. Maybe their hopes have been shipwrecked by their parents' divorce (either legal or emotional) or train-wrecked by some other personal tragedy-loss of a loved one or a schoolmate or even a national landmark. Maybe they have watched too much death and destruction on television. Even the news stations have fallen desperately in love with repeating images of tragedy, turmoil, and terror until they are permanently and indelibly imprinted on our long-term memories and both young and old have seen the shadow of death and terror. Maybe they have experienced so much disappointment that they have grown disillusioned with life, adults, or God's Word.
Whatever the reasons, they now believe they are powerless to overcome this life. They believe firmly that whatever actions they take, the outcome of their lives will be negative and painful. They fight with depression and substance abuse, violence and suicide, apathy and hopelessness, because they believe that even when they are winning big, they are being set up to lose bigger. This secret is killing them, and in them the very future of our churches, our families, our communities, and our nation is dying.
Based on Grace
It is high time that Christians begin to confront this secret head-on. No longer skirting or shirking our responsibility, but armed with the power of the grace of God, we must begin to batter away at this spiritual stronghold in the lives of our teenagers. Whether we are parents or pastors, teachers or preachers, counselors or coaches, we have to begin to empower these teenagers with a winning spirit.
We must begin to teach our teenagers that God's grace has already won their race. Their future has been fixed and assured by Christ's finished work on Calvary. When Christ won on the cross, he assured that his victory would affect and infect us who have hidden our lives inside him. He made us all more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. But if we are to dispel the dark cloud of this secret, we who are Christians must take this thing further. We must begin to live our lives as both role models and whole models. We must base our youth ministries upon this central element of the Gospel message: God's amazing grace.
In this book we explore together, through God's Word, how we who are called to teach and influence teenagers can empower them through the amazing grace of God. We will explain and outline through both precept and example how to-through faith in Christ-take, inundate, and then saturate teenagers who believe they are losers with the winning spirit of God's grace.
"I highly recommend this book to every pastor, youth minister, teacher, and parent. In Grace-Based Youth Ministry, Chris Hill shares how we can help influence and empower teenagers to be winners."
-Craig W. Hagin, Youth Minister, RHEMA Bible Church
"Pastor Chris Hill has been a tremendously valuable influence for our youth ministry. His wisdom and vision exemplify that he is in fact a winner, and I believe that many will benefit from his thoughts."
-Bishop T.D. Jakes Sr., Senior Pastor, The Potter's House of Dallas, Inc.