Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Groups like Teen Mania, which is headquartered in Garden Valley, Texas are raising up a new generation of faithful believers. Teen Mania’s purpose is to “provoke a young generation to passionately pursue Jesus Christ, and to take His life-giving message to the ends of the earth.” Their founder is Reverend Ron Luce who holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Counseling and Psychology, respectively. In addition, he is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management Program. This unique blend of management and ministry credentials has allowed Luce to create an excellently managed organization.

Teen Mania hosts Acquire the Fire and Battle Cry events that bring teens together during weekends to praise, pray and hear words of challenge. In 2005, for example, they conducted over 30 Acquire the Fire/Battle Cry (ACF/BC) weekends with an estimated 250,000 youth. Twenty-six ACF/BC events are scheduled in the first six months of 2008.

See You at the Pole (SYATP) is another movement that is investing in a radical young generation of future values voters. It’s important that our readers grasp the significance of SAYTP movement. At this annual event, high school kids from 12 to 18 begin to form relationships that will help them grow in faith. Here’s how the movement started.

In 1990, a few teens gathered for a discipleship weekend in Burleson, Texas. The teens became burdened for their friends at school. This group of teens joined with others who birthed a vision that students all over Texas would meet at their school flagpoles simultaneously to pray. A challenge was put forth to gather as many as possible to “See You at the Pole” on September 12, 1990. At 7:00 a.m. on that date, more than 45,000 students met at their school flagpoles in four different states to pray.

The news about this prayer movement spread to youth ministers at a national conference in Colorado. Even though there were no plans for a second SYATP event, it was clear that students would create one. One million students gathered on September 11, 1991 at flagpoles from Massachusetts to California. Again they prayed for their friends, schools, and leaders…and they also prayed for their country.

See You At the Pole has continued to grow. More than 3 million students from every state participate joining with students in over 20 countries, including Japan, Turkey, Australia, and the Ivory Coast. Paul Fleischmann, president of the National Network of Youth Ministries says, ““Every year, we have seen this day serve as a springboard for unity among teenagers on their campuses. … Young people have taken unprecedented leadership through this to have a positive impact at their schools.”

These are just two movements that are taking important cultural territory. But from the evidence of these two alone, you can see that the religious right definitely has a past… but it also has quite a future ahead.

Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.