By Carmen Huerta
Today’s young people need us. Millions of Americans kids and teenagers are being raised in single-parent homes and without father figures in their lives. They have to grow up too fast.
They’re blasted 24/7 with sexual images and peer pressure, leading to sexual activity before they’re ready. While the teen pregnancy rate has decline in the past 20 years, there still are nearly 30 babies being born for every 1,000 adolescent females ages 15-19. Children are having children.
Our culture promotes materialism, as if happiness comes from how much stuff you have. Even a local professor at San Diego State University says our culture is experiencing an epidemic of narcissism – meaning, “everything is about me.” At the same time, everyone’s in debt. In fact, almost half of American children grow up in poverty.
That leads to hopelessness, disengagement, and in some cases substance abuse. While alcohol and cigarette use has decreased since 1993, the use of illicit and prescription drug use has been increasing in recent years.
More than a third (36.4%) of 12th graders smoked weed last month. No surprise, really, since 60% of high school seniors — nearly double from 20 years ago — do not view regular marijuana use as harmful. After pot, prescription and over-the-counter medication account for most of the top drug abuse by 12th grades in the past year. (The stats are from “Monitoring the Future 2013,” an annual survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. Find out more at the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s website at www.drugabuse.gov.)
Reaching Kids with Love
This is why the Rock Church is passionate about reaching kids and teenagers with the love of Jesus Christ. As our new high school pastor, Khalis Lemons, says, “We need to take a risk on our kids. People should intercede and get involved in their lives!”
Pastor Lemons understands that high schoolers are often misunderstood and spoken down to. He recently said that “High schoolers are misunderstood because we spend more time trying to get in their heads and not their hearts.”
That’s why The Rock’s Youth Junior and Senior High ministries are loving, action-packed, crazy and fun while being centered on helping young people encounter God. We helped them discover who they are, help them grow within a community, and then clear on how they can do something to impact their church, school and world with their unique gifts and talents.
We’ve got experienced and trained volunteers who would love to mentor any kids you know who could use encouragement and a safe environment in which to explore life. Let them know about the Rock. We have three locations at present (with plans for more): Point Loma, North County and East County. We’ve also got a 24/7 Student Helpline at 858-367-9689 as well.
For more information on the Rock Church’s Junior High and High School programs, and for its services or upcoming events, please visit www.sdrock.com/ministries/youth. (We could always use volunteers too!)