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A podcast from CPYU (Center for Parent/Youth Understanding) discussing issues related to the world of youth culture, children, teens and young adults.Co hosted by CPYU President Walt Mueller and Jason Soucinek, CPYU Associate Staff for Sexual Integrity and Executive Director of Project Six19.
 
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It seems that you can’t watch the news or go online these days without encountering stories related to matters of gender and sexual identity. The conversations on these matters are progressing into unmarked territory that can leave parents and youth workers confused, and even paralyzed in terms of how to respond. In recent weeks, a new study ha ...…
 
Summer’s over and a new youth ministry season is here. If you’re a youth worker, your youth group schedule is ramping up and you’ve no doubt been planning. . . or should be planning. . . your teaching and ministry schedule for the coming school year. So let me ask you, have you done your youth ministry planning? What goals, objectives, and prio ...…
 
It’s that time of year when the fall sports season is heating up, everywhere from the pre-school soccer fields to the NFL gridiron. Our sports-obsessed culture will be in full gear as we do everything from playing to spectating. If all of a Christian’s life is to be an act of worship, how can we engage in our playing, sports-parenting, and spec ...…
 
What did you learn about sex and how did you learn about it when you were growing up? Christian parents, with assistance from youth leaders and the church, are given the responsibility to bring up their children in the nurture and instruction of the Lord. This includes talking about God’s order and design for sexuality.And because we live in a ...…
 
Somewhere along the way, many of us came to believe that if you are a follower of Jesus, you are promised a happy and carefree life. But when you read the Scriptures, you see that to follow Jesus means that you are also called to take up your cross. For most of us, it doesn’t take long to figure out that living life in a broken and fallen world ...…
 
The poet John Donne once wrote that “no man is an island.” Donne was stating a basic truth about life. . . that is that human beings tend to do things not so well when we are isolated from others. We need community to thrive. That’s certainly what the Scriptures teach from Genesis to Revelation. If we’re in youth ministry, community is vital to ...…
 
I was a twenty-one year-old college student when I first heard the term anorexia nervosa. I scratched my head for a moment, and then asked, “What’s that?” Yes, eating disorders and disordered eating were present in our culture forty years ago. But they were largely unknown and misunderstood. Today, the pressure to be thin and perfect is an ever ...…
 
One of the most controversial and often discussed Netflix series of all time is 13 Reasons Why. When season 2 of the series was released two weeks ago, our curious kids began binge-watching, just like they did last year with the release of season 1. Because of the shows controversial content and concerns about the influence on children and teen ...…
 
With the culture changing at breakneck speed, we need to know the culture so that we can contextualize the unchanging Good news of the Gospel in ways that can be heard by a changing world. As a result, we talk a lot about the need for relevance in our churches and youth ministries. Is it possible that our commitment to relevance can lead us to ...…
 
You can argue that if there is one band that’s been significant and enduring over the last thirty-plus years, it would be Ireland’s U2. Their story, their music, and their message has vaulted them to this place, making them one of the most beloved rock and roll bands of all time. What is it about U2 that makes them so provocative and compelling ...…
 
One way our culture has changed is the growing openness to new beliefs and behaviors related to sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender. Because we minister and parent on this changing landscape, we find ourselves engaged in all kinds of conversations with young people who express different beliefs and practices. As Christians work to be fait ...…
 
Research and experience point way too often to the fact that our youth ministries and churches are failing at equipping kids to leave our youth groups with a deep, significant, and lasting faith. Too many kids graduate from high school and into the next phase of life seemingly pushing the pause or stop button on their Christian faith. Consequen ...…
 
As parents and youth workers, we are eager to see our kids come to faith in Christ, and to grow in maturity in Christ. Research and experience are pointing to the fact that some of the greatest strides kids make in their faith happen in the camp setting. What happens to kids when they go to a Christian camp? How has Christian camping changed ov ...…
 
When youth workers ask me about the qualities they should seek to develop in their lives and ministries, there are three that I’m always sure to mention: humility, teachability, and cooperation. Pride kills ministry. Without a determination to learn we get horribly stale. And if we aren’t working with others we forfeit the great benefits of min ...…
 
Whenever Valentine’s Day rolls around our culture is prompted to think about romance, love, and sex. It’s no fluke that the latest installment in the Fifty Shades of Gray film series was released just a few days before Valentines Day. As followers of the one who created romance, love, and sex, we need to follow Christ by understanding and exper ...…
 
We don’t like to talk about it, but we must. The spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being of our kids hangs in the balance. That’s why we need to be thinking about and strategizing for how to best push back and minister to kids in the midst of the growing epidemic of teen suicide. What are the signs? What are the myths? How can youth worke ...…
 
Over the course of Walt Mueller's years of youth ministry, he's developed some wonderful friendships with a variety of youth ministry peers. Some of the most significant relationships have resulted in sometimes fun, sometimes serious, and always profitable conversation about their personal lives and ministry matters. They don't always agree, bu ...…
 
One of the biggest mistakes we make in youth ministry is assuming that we are the ones primarily responsible for the spiritual nurture of teenagers. A second and related mistake is making the assumption that as youth workers, we can actually do a better job of nurturing kids than their clueless parents. Sure, parents might sometimes be not well ...…
 
Prayer is essential to the Christian life. As followers of Jesus, we must make the same request as one of His early disciples: Lord, teach us to pray. Once we learn how to pray, what should we be praying for? In today's incredibly confusing world, one of our primary prayers subjects must be our children and teens. What would happen if as indivi ...…
 
Where are we to find our identity? Our current and powerful cultural narrative is convincing children, teens, and adults alike that we are to create, maintain, and find our identity in what we look like on social media. Consequently, we pour our time and energy into practices and habits that destroy us. It’s feeding the epidemics of anxiety, de ...…
 
Unless you’ve been asleep, you know that the last few weeks have been flooded with news stories about a growing number of political and celebrity figures and allegations regarding sexual abuse and assault. What’s now known as the Weinstein Effect was front and center again this week with the firing of NBC Today Show Host, Matt Lauer. Should we ...…
 
Drug and alcohol abuse is nothing new to youth culture. Sadly, it's been a part of the teenage experience for a long time. While anti-drug efforts have yielded a decline in the use of some drugs, the usage number on way too many drugs are on the rise. And not a day goes by when we don't read another sobering statistic or sad story related to th ...…
 
Youth workers and pastors are busy people. With the pace of life getting faster, we get busier and then have to prioritize the tasks of ministry. Sometimes we let certain tasks slip. In recent years, more and more of us have dropped the important task of study and preparation time. Some have even gone so far as to purchase, download, cut and pa ...…
 
Because we live as broken people with other broken people in a horribly broken world, we all face the temptation to take certain friendships over the line into the unhealthy world of emotional affairs. Once there, our tendency is to justify and downplay the seriousness of these relationships as no big deal. But even though emotional affairs mig ...…
 
Were you ever bullied? Or, were you ever a bully? In today's world, bullying has reached epidemic proportions. Social media has created a landscape where bullying is now a 24/7 reality that for some, never ends. What can we do to build resilience in the bullied, and stop the bullies? This episode is a practical, gospel-centered conversation on ...…
 
We live in a broken world that is desperately groaning and longing to be fixed. As Christians we realize that the pain and suffering of life will exist until the day when Jesus ushers in the New Heaven and the New Earth. Until that day when things will finally be restored to the way they're supposed to be, we will experience pain and suffering ...…
 
When it comes to dating and relationships, the rules have changed. The cultural narrative on dating, love, sex, and marriage has eclipsed the biblical narrative on relationships. Consequently, our kids oftentimes pursue a relationship path that is dangerous and destructive, and they don't even know it. How can we point them to an understanding ...…
 
It's been over fifty years since media theorist Marshall McLuhan said that "First we shape our tools, and then our tools shape us." McLuhan had push back as folks wondered at the time if what he was saying was true. But time has proven McLuhan's theory to be correct. Now that we've hit the ten year anniversary of the launch of the iPhone, we're ...…
 
When I started out in youth ministry, there were two time-related realities that some seasoned youth workers shared with me. First, it takes three years to establish yourself in a new youth ministry setting. And second, the average youth minister stays in a youth ministry position for eighteen months. That math doesn’t speak well for youth mini ...…
 
Late last year, Time Magazine ran a cover story on the current epidemic of anxiety among America’s adolescents. The story reports on what all of us who work with kids already know: that the pressures on today’s teenagers are so great that they are trying to navigate their lives while, as one teen says, "feeling like they are climbing Mount Ever ...…
 
A Christian culture observer once said this about the changes taking place in our world: “As result of the postmodern turn, the only sin, is to believe in sin.” If we look around with any sort of discernment, we see that in many ways this is true. The challenges to Christian ethics and a biblical worldview are strong. Our kids are taught to be ...…
 
If you spend any time at all on social media, you know just how important the "likes" are. Getting "likes" and positive feedback on your posts in money in the bank. It's a sign of social media success. But does the pursuit of online attention and a growing number of followers cause us to compromise ourselves? Researcher Donna Freitas has found ...…
 
The recently released Netflix series "13 Reasons Why" is getting a ton of attention from kids, parents, teachers and counselors. The show has sparked conversations about all sorts of adolescent issues, including suicide. But the show has also ignited controversy, as experts are divided over whether or not "13 Reasons Why" is motivating teenager ...…
 
Some would have us believe that if we find parenting difficult, we must not be following the right plan. They might also say that parenting well always results in Godly children. If you're like most parents, believing these lies can result in a heavy dose of guilt and shame. Because we live in a broken world as broken parents with broken kids, ...…
 
It's as if the landscape of our culture has changed overnight. The issue of transgenderism has moved front and center in our culture, our school, our churches, our youth groups, and in many of our homes. It's safe to say that this new gender landscape is one that we must understand, respond to and navigate. But as parents, how can we do so? Wha ...…
 
Anybody who has ever worked as youth minister or youth ministry volunteer owes a debt of gratitude to Wayne Rice. One of the co-founders of Youth Specialities, Wayne has worked to equip and resource youth workers for almost fifty years. Over the course of that time he’s experienced a lot, rethought how we do youth ministry, and is now working t ...…
 
Studies say up to 65-80 percent of people who grow up in the church drop out of church when they become college-aged. It's not intentional. It just happens. But why is this happening? And what can we do as parents, grandparents, pastors, and youth workers to be sure our kids get plugged into a campus fellowship group and church when they arrive ...…
 
Walt and Jason begin the podcast with a discussion about gun violence in movies, body image and photo-editing, Russell Wilson ans Ciara, sports specialization, Millennials in the workplace, and heavy alcohol use and brain development. Research reveals the alarming fact that far too many of our boys and girls are being victimized by sexual abuse ...…
 
In recent years, researchers have sounded the warning that narcissism is on the rise in our culture, particularly among the emerging generations. If this is true, the tendency towards following self rather than following God will thwart our spiritual growth and development. Where does this focus on self come from? How is it being manifested in ...…
 
In the Gospel of Luke we read about a time when one of the the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Lord, teach us to pray." In a day and age where distractions are many and times of concentrated silence are disappearing, we'd do well to voice this same request. Here at CPYU, our prayer lives have been greatly enhanced through several books of wr ...…
 
For those of us who lived through it, Beatlemania and the turbulence of the 1960s were watershed times in the history of popular culture. There had been nothing like it before, and there hasn't been anything like it since. Music journalist Steve Turner's's life in London gave him a front row seat and insider's look at cultural change that is fa ...…
 
In recent years, more and more parents and youth workers have become legitimately concerned about what happens to their high school graduates once they head off to college. Among the many challenges students face is the diminishing of Christian faith. It seems that what they once embraced, is weakened and at times forgotten. Mike Gaffney discus ...…
 
Our children and teens are like sponges, created to learn. Because of where they're at developmentally, they are especially impressionable and vulnerable. One of the most effective molders of young hearts and minds in the culture. As Christian parents and youth workers, our job is to nurture them in the Christian faith so that they will grow up ...…
 
What is our culture telling us about sex and sexuality? Is the culture pointing us and our kids to a kind of sexual flourishing that reflects God's will and way for our sexuality? And what does it mean to have a biblical understanding of sexuality? In this episode, we're talking to college professor and author Dale Kuehne about his book "Sex an ...…
 
Walt and Jason start the podcast off with a discussion about taking a trip to Mars, as well as youth culture news and trends related to the Chicago Cubs, energy drinks, new technological advancements, football and brain injuries, cyber dating abuse and media recommendations for kids. Then we chat with Jamie Smith about our cultural liturgies an ...…
 
Puberty. Adolescence. Sadly, those are words that sometimes strike fear in the heart of parents. But should it be that way? Taking the time to understand the realities of puberty and adolescence in today's world goes a long way in preparing us to parent, lead, and minister to teenagers in today's rapidly changing world. We talk with our friend ...…
 
This episode begins with Walt and Jason discussing youth culture news related to education outside of schools, name pronunciation, technology, virtual reality headsets, a new music platform and generational differences in finances. Then former Major League Baseball player and 3 time World Series Champion, Jeremy Affeldt, joins the podcast. He d ...…
 
Walt and Jason open the podcast discussing youth culture news related to playing in the dirt, new words in the dictionary, teens and food insecurities, and a new app to combat bullying. Then during the interview segment our friend Rick Lawrence, the Executive Editor of Group Magazine joins us. Rick is a strong advocate for creative teaching met ...…
 
When you were a teenager did you want to be seen and perceived as cool? In today's youth culture, the concept of cool is what drives fads, trends, and purchases. In fact, marketers are all about capturing, mass-producing, and selling cool. But can cool become a hindrance to spiritual growth? Can it become an idol that consumes our lives? Walt a ...…
 
Walt and Jason discuss the latest in youth culture including stories about negativity in pop culture, college and social media, TV and Snapchat, and 'The Shame List.' For the 2nd and 3rd segments of this podcast, Sean McDowell joins Walt and Jason discuss issues of faith, culture, worldview and apologetics. As a professor at Biola University an ...…
 
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