How Youth Like Me Learn Expressive Individualism

Kids today are growing up in a compulsively connected world. Information is incessant, smartphones are ubiquitous, and with a click or a tap young people have 24/7 access to a never-ending digital conversation.

Of course, such connectivity comes at a cost. Much of this information is pumped out by an agenda-driven media with a message of their own—a message that sounds good, nice even, but is inherently poisonous. It is becoming louder, stronger, and constant. And young people are drinking it in.

This is the message of expressive individualism—the belief, Tim Keller explains, that “identity comes through self-expression, through discovering one’s most authentic desires and being free to be one’s authentic self.”

This is the follow-your-heart, believe-in-yourself, chase-your-dreams, Disney-Hallmark-MTV gospel. It is the catechism of our culture. It is what our youth are learning. You are the creator of your identity. You are free—even obligated—to be whomever or whatever makes you feel good, no matter what anyone says.

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4 Ideas Changing Church for the Better

It’s not about the lights or the coffee station.

Diversity Friends Meeting Coffee Shop Brainstorming Concept
Many young people are drawn to churches that are more like family rooms than theaters and that invite young people not just to share beliefs, but to share life. Rachel Held Evans said it well in Searching for Sunday—millennials “aren’t looking for a hipper Christianity … we’re looking for a truer Christianity, a more authentic Christianity … No coffee shops or fog machines required.”

Or as one 20-something in our study reflected, it’s one thing to watch a worship performance—anyone can do that online. In contrast, “The internet can’t help you move to your new apartment. Only a close community will do that.”

We agree.
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5 Problems With Top-Down Vision-Casting – And a New Testament Alternative


Here’s the way vision-casting is usually taught and practiced in the church.

  • The pastor gets a vision for the church through prayer, Bible-reading or the latest church leadership conference
  • The pastor preaches about the vision
  • The leaders and congregation get behind the vision
  • The vision is supported, preached, and repeated regularly

From the top. Down to the bottom.

Here are some problems I see with that way of casting vision.

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The Verses Project

I found this while making a image from a verse I read on the bible app. I have noticed in the past that some verses already showed up as these pre-made works of art. I then proceeded to look up the group that did these. Here is some information about them:

Though we might agree that memorization & meditation are important disciplines, they are much easier talked about than carried out practically in our busy rhythms of life. People start the journey of memorization off strong, but after 2 or 3 weeks, that gusto is often lost. Verses Project intends to make memorization and meditation sustainable, accessible, and even joyful. Every week, we pick a memory verse and post a song to help you hear and sing God’s Word; we post artwork to save on your mobile device, desktop, or for your wall so that you might not only hear it, but also constantly see it, be reminded of it, and treasure it; finally, we post a devotional blog to help you think on and engage with the text.

Check their work out here

Here are some of my favorites: