The Cross & the Pen: "Bored with God" Author Sean Dunn
- Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Welcome to “The Cross & the Pen,” Crosswalk.com’s author-to-author interview column.
When "Bored with God" (InterVarsity Press) came across my desk, so to speak, I was immediately intrigued. As it is, my daughter and I are writing a book together on media’s influence on youth culture, so anything to do with our next generation piques my interest. "Bored with God" is a book that informs us on what happens when youth become apathetic toward God. And, it's written by someone who ought to know.
Sean Dunn has been in youth ministry for about a gazillion years (okay, maybe that’s stretching it) and before that he was apathetic toward God. Recently we got together for a little chitchat. Wanna listen in?
Eva: Sean Dunn, tell me about your background in youth ministry.
Sean: I was one of those freaky kids who, at the age of 14, knew what I was going to do. … I was very focused on youth ministry. I didn’t know what form it would take, but that was my focus. I went to Bible college to train … to get some education. My youth pastor said, “Don’t be one of those guys who sleeps for four years. Get involved. You’ll learn more as you’re doing.” I’ve been in ministry for 17 or 18 years now. I’ve trained youth ministers. God really blessed the ministry … training leaders, providing students with mission experiences, things like that. I started Champion Ministries. For the past seven or eight years I’ve been traveling full time, writing, and speaking and now we do the radio stuff.
Eva: What is “Groundwire” and how many stations is it on worldwide?
Sean: "Groundwire" is an outreach that was more of a shot in the dark. Could this happen? Could we do this? We were approached by Christian station that heard me speak and heard me say that our students are over-entertained and under-challenged. So he said, “That’s our audience. We have kids who love the music, ignore the message. Could you do some spots for our Christian kids?” I said, “Yeah, we can do that.” So we started production on those and through that we started to wonder if we could do this on secular stations.
We realized that the average student doesn’t listen to Christian radio. It’s an outreach where we just take 60 seconds … one of the statistics that we focused on was that more than 86 percent of the kids believe in God according to George Barna, but what do they believe about Him? Do they believe He’s loving? That He has standards? That He wants to be a part of their lives or do they believe that He’s a crisis manager who only wants to hear from us when we have a problem? So, if 86 percent believe in God, but don’t know what they believe about Him, we’re not going to offend many by going on the air and saying, “God does love you. He does care about you. If you have questions, He has answers. If you’re hurting, He will heal you.” So, we started that and in ten months we’ve basically gone from a handful of stations, and now we’re in 280 stations in four continents – 210 of those are secular.
How can we read the mandate of “Go” and not do so? And I think that means to go to where kids are developing their attitudes, reminding them in the midst of the darkness that God is here.
Eva: Wow! That’s excellent. You know, some of the buzz words and concerns within youth culture or for those who work in youth ministry today are self-mutilation, high levels of STDs, friends with benefits vs. relationships, hooking up, blogging, etc. Sean, what is going on here?
Sean: We’ve bought into the attitude that our lifestyles have no long-term consequences. I do blame the media in many ways. There’s a story I tell. There was an artist, a few years ago, named Sisqo, won all these awards on one of the award shows. I was watching in my hotel room and … the first thing he said when he got up there was, “I want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Well, do you know what he got famous for? The “Thong Song.” So, he says this. He thanks Jesus … and then he says, “But most of all I want to thank the one who got me where I’m at,” reaches into his pocket and pulls out a black thong. The crowd went crazy. And I got angry, because basically what they’re saying is that Christianity doesn’t affect your life and there are no consequences. Those words don’t disturb me nearly as much as the fact that they’re spoken by Christians. They are saying their faith is compartmentalized. Everything else is separate. “My faith is something I do once or twice a week. But it’s not my life.” That’s not the way it’s supposed to be.
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