Insight’s Twilight—What Killed Adventism’s Youth Magazine, and What We Should Do About It

Young people are a problem.

Toddlers in Beginners Sabbath School are fun and cute. The elementary age kids in Primary learn like a sponge. High school-age youth, though, are “difficult.” They require the most investment. They are ungrateful. They question everything you do. They’re apathetic. They push boundaries, and you see no return in your investment for decades. But their spiritual growth and involvement are an investment we must make.

In August 1852, the fledgling Adventist believers started their second magazine, for young people: The Youth’s Instructor. (Adventism’s first magazine, The Present Truth, launched three years earlier, is now known as Adventist Review.) By the late 1960s, Instructor had grown far out of touch with young people, so in 1970 a new magazine was launched: Insight. Insight aimed to meet youth where they were, addressing their issues with openness and honesty. It lasted 47 years. Its last issue was July 1, 2017.

The 1952 Youth's Instructor 100th anniversary issue.

Launch announcement for Insight.

Subscriptions had steadily declined for years. Pacific Press Publishing Association acquired Insight in a merger at the same time it became an NAD institution, in 2014, but deferred to the NAD as to the magazine’s fate. The consensus of representative youth leaders was to discontinue the publication, and in January 2017, the NAD voted to end it. As of this writing, there are no concrete plans for anything to fill its void.

What killed Insight?

Fear. I recently read an Adventist blog that stated, "you have to feed the culture you want to grow in a church. You don't make healthy churches by jumping through hoops for unhealthy people. Instead, you encourage and support healthy people.”

When it was launched, aimed at high school and college-age youth, Insight was perhaps the most thought-provoking publication in the church. Over roughly the past fifteen years, however, I repeatedly witnessed an attitude of "Let's be careful about including this or that because the ‘gatekeepers’ may not approve (and then they'll stop subscribing for their youth)." That attitude took for granted that teens would keep reading a cautious magazine. The result, I believe, was a stale publication that teens increasingly tuned out of, and since they weren't taking them out of the classroom, the gatekeepers—individual churches—stopped subscribing for their youth.

“It’s fear morphed to cowardice,” reflects recently retired Union college humanities professor Chris Blake, who edited Insight from 1985 to 1993. “People who claim to be followers of the One who took constant criticism from the ultra-religious will now, to avoid criticism from the same type of people, balk and veer and cease and desist. It’s so bizarre. Cowardice owns the day.”

Blake sees a parallel in the unreleased General Conference video production The Record Keeper. A retelling of Adventism’s Great Controversy narrative targeted at young adults, Record garnered over 23,000 likes on its Facebook page based on just a trailer and short pilot episode, signifying a vast, untapped audience. Reflects Blake, “Record Keeper typified exactly the problems with the church trying to be creative. If all you care about is being right, then creativity will wither on the vine.”

In 1970, the Adventist church axed The Youth’s Instructor because, as Charles Scriven remembers, “the magazine was drab in appearance, highly conventional in outlook, and wasn’t reaching the kind of young Adventist that was beginning to have an impact in the sixties.” Scriven, who would go on to serve as president of Columbia Union College and Kettering College, served as part of Insight’s first editorial team. Insight’s first issue started with what passed for a bang on May 5, 1970—a cover image of a classical guitar, and the headline, “The Church and Huckleberry Finn.” The cover story, by merikay, “was about a kid who didn’t look quite right coming to church, getting a chilly welcome,” Scriven recalls. “It was a statement of identification with younger, more intellectually adventurous Adventists.”

First Issue of Insight, May 1970.

Insight’s early years didn’t shy away from the era’s controversial issues, from long hair and beards to racism, war, and abortion. It dug deep into hard-hitting subjects like sexual harassment and date rape. A 1970s issue featured an interview with Pastor Josephine Benton. In September 1980 she was interviewed again, alongside two others, for the article “Three Women in the Pulpit.”

Insight frequently tackled contemporary culture and current events. A 1980s piece explored the question “Would Mork like Adventists?” while other articles touched on such topics as Kurt Cobain and Princess Diana. A groundbreaking 1992 issue addressed homosexuality. The October 9, 1993 cover featured a grainy close-up of cult leader David Koresh and the headline, “Could this man seduce you?”

David Koresh on Insight's cover, October 1993.

Author Trudy J. Morgan-Cole remembers the Insight of her youth as one which showed her how to “engage thoughtfully with popular culture, to use faith as the lens through which I could view and learn from the broader culture. It’s what I mainly associate with the Insight magazine of the late seventies and early eighties—thoughtful, critical engagement with the wider worlds, with political and social issues and questions of culture—that I didn’t see anywhere else in the church when I was growing up. It had a huge influence on the kind of Adventist I grew up to be.”

Under the editorship of Lori Peckham (1993-2001), Insight featured reviews of contemporary Christian music. Given the centrality of music to teens’ lives, it was a feature with great appeal, while helping to extend and build readers’ spiritual lives beyond Saturday morning. After Peckham’s tenure, wishing to avoid controversy, Insight ended columns reviewing music and highlighting artists, and readers had one less reason to turn its pages. In its last decade and a half, Insight explored real world issues less and less, gravitating instead to a more moralistic focus.

Insight cover, September 1994.

Neglect. Alongside fear of criticism was the fear of the new and the unknown, even as the publishing world hurtled through change.

Chris Blake remembers an early attempt to get Insight ahead of the trends. “What I wanted was people on computers communicating with us, to make it interactive. So we had some interactive stuff and pages dedicated to what we heard from [our readers]. In 1992 Lori Peckham and I proposed to change Insight to an expanded format (32 pages) every other week and a more online presence (eight pages print) the other weeks. I was informed, after 18 months of hopping through committee hoops and on the eve of our new launch, that this arrangement ‘wouldn't work.’”

Insight’s demise came just three years after its former publisher, the Review and Herald Publishing Association, was merged with the Pacific Press Publishing Association. At the time of the RHPA’s dissolution, Pacific Press’s annual sales were about $2 million lower than those of the RHPA. Though the RHPA was in debt, its financial woes hardly needed to be fatal. It produced a standout lineup of books year after year. The problem was, the church didn’t know what to do with it—and that doesn’t bode well for the future of church publishing, period. Until Adventist media is empowered at all levels to innovate, it will stagnate.

"Many good people worked at the Review and Herald Publishing Association, but that wasn't enough, obviously," Blake reflects. "Despite some bright lights the RHPA was a dim labyrinth of hubris and mediocrity. Motivated mostly by fear, mired in the past and incompetent committees, lacking vision and accountability, the Review's most telling trait continued to be a dearth of fresh courage. Other than that it was fine. Seriously, we can do better, but it will take brains and heart and backbone."

Insight finally launched a webpage in 1998. Over nineteen years, its look, format, and content barely changed. (Its most recent video content is from 2012.) In contrast, Guide magazine, the Adventist church’s magazine for 10 to 14-year-olds, has regularly invested in fresh content for its website. In June 2017, Guide had about 11,000 visits to its site. Insight had 2,200. Over the years Insight’s editors made repeated attempts to increase their online presence, but were never given the support to do so.

For several years in the late 2000s, Insight’s editor was simultaneously the vice president of the Review and Herald Publishing Association Editorial department. While that may have saved money at a time of tight budgets, it came at a great cost to Insight’s quality and connection to its audience. Insight began to regularly reprint old articles rather than dream up fresh themes and content in tune with the times.

Insight cover, January 1993.

Quality. At its peak, Insight became a literary hub for Adventists. Insight featured the best short-story writing in Adventism, with exceptional and engrossing pieces by such authors as Joan Marie Cook, Arthur Milward, and Gary Swanson. It cultivated writing talent, particularly through its annual writing contest. Winners included future best-selling author Trudy J. Morgan Cole, and Randy Fishell, who served as an editor for Guide magazine for over 25 years. The Review and Herald printed two book collections of “Insight’s Most Unforgettable Stories.”

In the magazine’s final years, such sharp, engrossing short stories became a thing of the past.

Insight cover, January 2004.

Ignorance. The church has long struggled with marketing (and the reality that its built-in market no longer takes a week’s vacation every year to go to campmeeting and buy its wares). Insight faced its own challenges of a shifting market. For whatever reason, whether money, culture, or marketing, Insight never gained traction in areas where the church was growing. Of the approximately 1,000 Spanish-language Adventist churches in the United States (about one church out of five), only a single one subscribed to Insight. The reason churches gave for not subscribing? Because Insight was in English—despite the fact that nearly 100 percent of Hispanic teens in the U.S. can read English. First-generation immigrant Adventists in the U.S. had not grown up with Insight, and didn’t know what their youth were missing.

Disconnect. When I first saw the December 12, 2015 issue of Insight, with a sepia-toned cover image of nineteenth century “Charles Haddon Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers” looking like Ulysses S. Grant just awakened from a nap, I about hung my head. Somehow, Insight had morphed right back into The Youth’s Instructor. The circle was complete.

Insight cover, December 2015.

In an era of endless stimuli beamed straight into teens’ hands and eyes through their smartphones, Insight needed to be both contemporary and timeless. For decades it had broadened minds and encouraged critical thinking. Somehow, in its final years, it simply withdrew into itself.

If you pick up a copy of Guide, you’ll see a magazine that’s both in tune with its audience and constantly reinventing itself. If that were still true of Insight, with a strong digital and audio-visual presence bolstered by a healthy budget, I believe it would still be going strong.

What now?

An Adventist hospital closes and the story gets lots of publicity. A magazine/ministry that’s been in production for 165 years folds, and . . . <crickets>.

Meanwhile, the church has spent untold millions over the past several decades propping up its media ministries aimed at adults. After all, no one wants to be the guy who killed “It Is Written.” Literature for youth, apparently, is much more disposable in Adventism. Audio-visual media for young people in Adventism scarcely exists.

In his 2008 memoir “Embrace the Impossible,” retired Adventist Review editor William Johnsson recounts the quarter century he spent trying to reverse the slide in subscriptions for the church’s flagship magazine. Having peaked at over 100,000 in the early 1960s, when the church had just reached a million members worldwide, it had endured a slow but steady decline, as the generation that once read it cover-to-cover died. In the mid-1980s, with worldwide membership at 5 million, Johnsson dreamed of getting subscriptions back to 100,000. He tirelessly tried one thing after another to breathe new life into the magazine, but his creative triumphs had only limited impact on subscription numbers. Johnsson ends his memoir with a surprise development: the General Conference request to publish a monthly magazine for worldwide distribution, Adventist World. Provided free to church members, World launched in 2005 with an initial press run of 1.1 million copies.

The Adventist church could have let its leading periodical die. Instead, it has continued to invest in it, believing it a vital resource for connecting and nurturing its community. For its last few years, Insight had one full-time employee. Today, Adventist Review has about a dozen, including a digital media director, who oversees regular fresh video content, available through its media streaming app AR TV. Adventist Review receives $5.5 million in funding from the General Conference each year. The church has decided that’s an investment worth making, and I applaud it—but surely we can spare a few dollars for media for young people.

The church needs to put its money where its mouth is. We talk about the parable of the sower, but we aren’t willing to wait for the seeds to grow. We find millions for evangelistic series that bring in a handful of new members quickly, but we aren’t willing to invest in the young people we already have—even when today’s technology makes it easy to reach millions of young people outside the church while we’re at it.

Here’s my modest proposal. My conference, Kentucky-Tennessee, has roughly one percent of North American Division membership, and spends $125,000 a year on evangelism. Assuming that's fairly representative, why don't we take a tithe of church evangelism funds—say, $1.25 million a year—hire a team, and give them a budget to create media—magazines, music, movies, and more—targeted at young people? It could easily become the church’s most prominent outreach.

It’s a matter of priorities. We find money for what we care about. In truth, we should invest far more. Right now, though, we spend essentially nothing on media for young people, and that must change.

Frankly, I don't understand how the church can have seen this coming from so far off and still not have done anything about it. Insight drifted for years without anyone saying, “Hey—what’s happening? How can we better reach young people?” But now is the time to move forward. Hire a team. Give them a budget. Let them loose.

The Adventist church needs young people. Young people, I believe, need the church. Today's youth are plugged into media essentially non-stop, and the church has nothing for them. We must meet them where they are. The trouble is, if the church doesn't produce media that speaks to them, youth won't come looking for it.

Tompaul Wheeler is the author of the Adventist church’s official 2018 teen devotional, God Space, and Guidemagazine’s weekly comic strip, “Bible Sketches,” soon to be compiled in book form. When he was 16, he wrote and photographed a special edition of Insightthat won 3rd place for journalism from the Evangelical Press Association. A filmmaker in Nashville, Tennessee, he has a Master of Fine Arts in Film from Lipscomb University. He directed the documentary Leap of Faith: The Ultimate Workout Story, which tells the story of the Maranatha short-term mission trip for teens Insightmagazine founded.

All images courtesy of Tompaul Wheeler.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/8259
3 Likes

40+ years ago I sensed that the SDA denomination required 2 measures:

  1. Decrease fanaticism
  2. Increase accountability

To deal with number 1…Increase competency & relevancy of pastors & SS teachers
To deal with number 2. Increase communication between local church leaders & their members. (input & surveys on sermons & SS classes)

The SDA denomination keeps the youth on the back seats of the bus.

Have the youth in earliteens & up…get together & come up with a monthly/quarterly report to be presented at the monthly board meeting that shares their ideas, interests & gripes. Ask a youth rep to come to the board on a quarterly basis to see the boring proceedings and to interact with agenda items related to the youth.

Go ahead and critique or shoot down this input if you want…it is part of the SDA tradition.

4 Likes

Young Adventists started INSIGHT who were thoughtful, committed and passionate. We seldom let that population group “run” with anything of substance, unlike the larger culture. When will we ever learn?

15 Likes

I was in college when the Youth’s Instructor was replaced by Insight. Many of us (young people, that is) were very disappointed with the the decline in quality, and the superficiality which characterized the new magazine. This is what happens when leaders try to be too “hip.” I only read it a few times. It was pablum.

I don’t think we even use it at our local church. We use Young Disciple, a publication with much more “meat” in it than Insight.

My own my kids weren’t too enamored with it either. They preferred the Guide, and Young Disciple.

2 Likes

Who was it who said “suffer the little children to come unto me…”?
Bet he knows this-just put some mothers in charge of the church business, and they will naturally fund what is dearest to their hearts. CHILDREN!

Mothers are the most selfless and christlike members of our faith community.
They are also the most prevalent-somewhere around 60/40 female.

And yet-despite no clear ecclesiastical policy, no SOP proscription, nor a definitive prohibition in writ, we still deny co-ordination. And watch our young wither away faster than the staunch old guard demanding their neocon desire to “make the church grate again, just like it never was”

Put a spirit driven woman as head of the GC, and watch the changes…Just change this to “her”…

11 Likes

If enough people want something, it will be done one way or another. Sometimes we need to “cleanse our palate” for what came before and let a little time pass before we decide on which direction to move forward. Not a bad thing to happen. When someone has a vision for what to do next, there will be a new magazine for our most promising generation.

Magazines, music and movies targeting youth. Wonderful idea! But, the first means nothing without a dynamic digital platform. The latter two are fraught with too much potential controversy to gain support from the graying leadership and membership of our largely fundamentalist organization.

Speaking musically…anything with a beat not being decried as from the devil? Or…could you imagine rap being used to communicate the gospel within the confines of SDAism or Adventist media, without tremendous backlash, or with any semblance of official backing? Late 60’s and early 70’s style 3rd rate Christian folk rock ain’t gonna cut it with this generation… and even that seems to often be seen as too worldly by the conservative core.

Nevermind tackling controversial issues and subject matter in print or on film. To inform, to educate, and to help teens think through how a Christian world view intersects and can dialogue with such things is not the same as blanket indoctrination. We always seem to opt for the latter. It’s less threatening. And then we wonder why we hemorrhage young people.

This article is spot on… it will take the courage of conviction that young people and students are worth reaching and involving in cutting edge ways, no matter what the resistance is. I know of one pastor in Washington who is doing that. His church is vibrant.

Thanks…

Frank

Btw… the first cover of Insight has a steel string acoustic guitar on the cover, not a classical guitar. Just a point of info…

10 Likes

Well, they did kill It Is Written in the SPD! You have to wonder what debacle they will create!

1 Like

As the last student editor of The Collegiate Quarterly, I have an insider’s understanding of how the Church deals with innovation and creativity: it kills it. What Wheeler doesn’t mention (except through reading between the lines) is the lengths the Church goes to to protect what it sees as doctrinal purity. The Quarterly had a “reading committee” (note, not an "editorial committee) who’s apparent job was to ensure nothing would threaten moral standards (“How can you admit SDA youth go to movies?”), contradict the “Truth,” or offend. I remember one Reading Committee meeting when then Sabbath School head, Leo Van Dolson, objected to an article’s use of Hitler as example of evil for fear of offending German readers. How can creativity survive this?

Eventually, these meetings took on the feeling of outright war, Doug Morgan, Bonnie Casey and I on one side trying vainly to hold onto some form of editorial integrity, and GC purity police on the other. Eventually the GC could no longer stomach the idea of having a Sabbath School publication outside of its control and so stole it from Union College via fiat. Union tried to fight this takeover and offered me a contract to continue as editor in defiance of the GC edict. But by this time I was weary of the fight and felt I needed to move on.

I know the early days of Insight were similar to those I experienced at CQ, if not even worse. Wheeler is correct when he says with regard to SDA youth, “the church has nothing for them.” Frankly, it hasn’t for decades and personally, I don’t think it ever will again.

12 Likes

There is so much creativity and genuine zeal in our youth that goes by unrecognized. Those of us who have been around for awhile sit in our pews listening already conditioned and acculturated to constant negativism from the pulpit. I recently heard an Adult Sabbath School teacher rant against “lesbians who want to be ordained”, “sympathy for transgender perverts”, and persons who are “killing their children by vaccinating them”, all this was said with gusto as he hurried past a superficial look at the book of Galatians. I noticed a two young persons neatly dressed in a mostly 65+ age class paying close attention (who left before the sermon) seemed to be saddened by these remarks. I wanted to greet them and welcome them but was unable to reach then before they left. I asked one of the deacons who also saw them leave if he knew who they were and he commented that they were probably “lookie-loos” students from the nearby Adventist university “mostly impatient to stay for the free potluck”.
but we’re not interested in what the majority of churches are doing.

Children’s and Youth ministry doesn’t seem to be working as we’ve always done it, college ministry is declining in attendance and therefore, in churches willing to do it, the average age at most churches is getting higher, and the church is losing a generation. Every Sabbath that goes by with the status quo of apathy and indifference to our youth is a tragedy. While some churches are far behind and don’t seem to care (they refuse to take the smallest step away from ‘the usual’),others are fighting and beating the air as to what to do.

I don’t write this to say that I have the answer, I definitely don’t, I write this to say that it’s alarming me that my church doesn’t seem to have the’ answer either. Does the church really care about this?

3 Likes

I see one reason why Insight was allowed to die. Lack of insight on the part of those who plan.

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Raíces adventistas de cuatro generaciones atrás. Me importa profundamente.

Permite ser verdaderamente honesto, su miedo a perder miembros pagando diezmo en el NAD. Nuestras iglesias latinas no están al nivel de la desesperación y la pérdida, sin embargo, si no somos cuidadosos, también lo seremos.

Catering para el empuje hacia atrás, o crítica es este realmente el problema? Les ruego que difieran, sugiero que los que pasan por alto votan con sus pies - por la puerta.

También son conscientes de las luchas internas en el campo, las políticas de control y los comportamientos duros. Ellos ven la falta de gracia aplicada a uno y retenido de otro, no son ciegos. Lamentablemente, este lápiz ha coloreado su imagen de Dios y su Iglesia.

Principiantes a través de Juniors tal vez, sus padres deben traer a sus hijos a la Escuela Sabática y la iglesia, estos padres son parte del pequeño porcentaje que todavía devuelven el diezmo y la ofrenda. E incluso entonces, cuando los recortes presupuestarios suceden, los departamentos se cortan o se mezclan en BG / KG PM / JR, dejando Earliteen, jóvenes y adultos jóvenes a platija.

Sé que algunos imaginan que van a comenzar a enseñar los niveles más bajos, o unirse a las clases de adultos, no es la respuesta promedio. Ese grupo de edad a menudo no diezman, por muchas razones, incluyendo no estar empleado y asistir a la escuela. Yo soy el primero en ponerse de acuerdo, que esta es la vieja mentira de los demonios para dividir y conquistar.

Con lágrimas, veo a mi iglesia, por defecto tomando la decisión de dividir la iglesia. Todavía creo que es reparable, todavía estoy seguro de que Dios adora y anhela la relación con aquellos que no lo han conocido. Todavía espero que el liderazgo llegue a la mesa en arrepentimiento y buena voluntad para hacer a Cristo primero y no temer. El amor perfecto echa fuera el miedo, en cualquier lugar con Jesús puedo ir con seguridad - ¿Verdadero o falso?

Veintiocho doctrinas no son el tema primordial para los retrocedentes o no asistentes. Debemos demostrar el amor con el cuidado de Cristo con nuestros corazones rendidos, nuestros dólares, y colocar a los jóvenes como líderes en la mesa de toma de decisiones, no como el símbolo. Entendemos, hicimos todo lo que pudimos, fue la juventud y los adultos jóvenes que Dios usó para convertirse en la iglesia adventista del séptimo día. Todos comenzamos como jóvenes pastores y educadores, nuestra iglesia será más saludable si unimos relevancia con la sabiduría, abrazado en corazones abiertos y piadosos para trabajar La Comisión juntos.

El día se aproxima rápidamente cuando todos los “empleados” y las iglesias no serán más, el amor perfecto echa fuera el miedo, la práctica en esta pequeña arena, las batallas por delante requerirá una gran cantidad de práctica y esta es una oportunidad para fortalecer nuestra fe ahora.

1 Like

I grew up reading Youth Instructor and loved it. It was passed out at the closing of SS. And if the sermon was boring which in my little church was often, one could read the YI and not be bored. I was saddened when they changed it… and it seemed to me to have been dumbed down to fit the new life styles that the 60’s brought to the church. I was no longer a teen…but it had not been a lot of passing time helping me to forget all that teen angst. I still knew what it felt like. I wanted to be a grown up and put that behind me. What I saw was seperate church services with youth pastors barely out of their teens and young adults not transitioning out of teen targeted service into adult service. Those people now some in their 60’s are missing.

1 Like

Readership of print media is down, period – everywhere. And it’s not due to SDA GC stranglehold on creativity. Even Playboy Magazine, the periodical that aims squarely at the bottom-most and easiest titillation, is struggling to survive.

For sometime now, it has been recognized that:

  1. people are caught up in the desire for the things of this world (which require money, therefore work);
  2. people are more on the internet (moving away even from television);
  3. people are creating their own content already in blogs, vlogs and social media posts.

This is a generation that does NOT sit around waiting for someone in authority to create content, neither is it a generation that flops down in front of a television and asks to be entertained. This is a generation that googles things of peculiar and immediate interest from a wide array of sources, that finds selfies interesting, that makes music and pictures and movies and has potentially instantaneous dialogue with its own icons.

Print magazines and large books are not the way to reach the young people of today. What they want and need is charismatic leadership: adults with whom they can identify, with whom they can feel comfortable, and who they can claim as their own (and not together with an older generation). Sadly, the youth leaders are incapable of inspiring anything other than worldliness (through lack of imagination) and tiresome boredom (grounded in platitudes and empty condescension).

///

2 Likes

Sad to say, but a lot of the Regional Conference churches that I attended in my youth and young adult days did not subscribe to either the Youth’s Instructor or Insight. They did not see the necessity, since they had an MV / AY leader. My husband, who grew up in the Lake Region Conference, never saw either publication in his entire life! I rarely saw it in Northeastern Conference churches… Were it not for the fact that Insight was provided in the dormitories at Loma Linda University while I was in attendance there in the 1970s, I would never have seen it either.

Perhaps it’s demise is not only because of lack of substance and quality, but also due to lack of subscribing churches, many of which never gave it a fighting chance!

2 Likes

I like the idea of creating a team. The practicality of it seems dismal. Here are two reasons that come to mind: 1: Today- like it or not, culture shapes world view: In the past, and present I suppose, the church’s model of evangelism was to present truth to a world then illustrate it in song and art which lead to a culture that acted a certain way. With the influence of relativism, culture or also known as the arts- shape what is true or not. Until the church decides to meet others where they are at nothing will change. You can still be “right” and produce amazing stuff. 2. Theological Diversity: There are too many constituents to answer to for content messaging; what is right, what is of the world, what is wrong, what should be said or not said. (As apparent by the diversity represented in the comment thread.) This is the same problem they had with the Record Keepers shelving. I am not sure the script would make it out of committee.

I hear there is a new media company, staffed by adventist christians which are able to tap into the creatives of our church as well as those outside to produce media that promotes the many facets of good, love and morality- It seems they will be able to share the arts which are relevent and able to change culture by meeting people where they are by the working of the Spirit of course :slight_smile: #FlickG2G

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You make some excellent points. I would take exception to one point, “Print magazines and large books are not the way to reach the young people of today.” While audiobooks are bigger than ever (e-books have been struggling for awhile now), print book sales continue to be strong, and the age group that buys the most books is 18-29. Unfortunately, we print roughly nothing with the biggest demographic in mind.

I believe that both the digital and the tangible are important today–hence why, for instance, sales of vinyl records have exploded in the past few years. As the digital world makes everything intangible, print products can be a tangible reminder that a young person’s church believes in and invests in them–and is worth believing in and investing in.

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While most SDA churches revert to formalism, controlled by the older generation then just like a large ship it creates a vacuum behind it, and a lot of drag.

Nothing can be heard in a vacuum. Youth are often excluded from Service, from sermons, from leadership and the old generation continues to command the ship to steam off to a place that glorifies their achievements, while youth are unheard.

The name of the ship. SS Ego

God says die self, The Bible is full of youth being empowered to command “TSL” Thus Says the Lord against the ruling Egos of the established Jewish church. Yet they couldn’t hear above the whine of the motors and their own commands.

So the ship was left to sail away to God’s final judgement.

The youth? Into little boats around a small calm lake to hear the soft words of a new captain.

The name of the lake ? Caperrnaum.
The new leader? Lord Jesus.

The Bible says repeatedly that God will not be mocked. Ego is the crime and our Ellen White clearly lays that at the ship’s lookout post to put a stop to it and watch out for it. But instead a new generation clearly lifted up by rising seas and lead on by swarms of new immigrants coming onto the SS Ego in the last 20 years onwards got proud and became the stiff necked Captains who ignore others and lift themselves up. And punish any dissenters and the little voices.

Human was one of those. Human no longer goes to God’s SDA church. Nor does Human’s children and wife. Assaulted physically by a so called man of the cloth, pushed out of SDA churches for seeking for the Voices to be heard. Later Human saw the Pathfinder club closed when it got too popular with the silent voices. Closed by the Captain some called “Pastor”, a man programmed and ordained by SDA local Steamship Company

Human has a brain and legs. Human remembers Titanic and voice of Prophecy. Human has a little voice. Now these little voices have a new church. Away from SS Ego and all its harsh brutality. On a quiet lake with a gentle Teacher.

Human doesn’t see the SS Ego anymore. Last time it was visit at the port it was mostly empty, split into two.

What was a vibrant church was now a silent rusting hulk.

Today as always the Youth are smarter than the older so called Captains on their SS Ego. They will walk away until they come to hear the Teachers voice. Then they will combine and go out into little boats and wander the valleys and byways to hear other little voices and lift up the other lost sheep onto their shoulders and bring them to the true Teacher.

Home.
Copyright 2017. Human.

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It seems we don’t learn from history very well either as a country or as a church.
The " picture of God " is what is important for our young people to see and relate to. If the picture is of a God who motivates by fear it will “breed rebellion and apathy”!! If it is a picture of God who motivates by love and relationships then our youth and the older generation will respond appropriately!!
A truly loving God will change our heart and relate, motivate by the only thing that works. Love!!!
Jesus always related to people where they were, not necessarily were He wanted them to be. By establishing that friend relationship He then was able to lead them "into the paths of righteousness ". Relationship always preceded guidance!

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As one of the earliest contributors to Insight (“Peace Alert in the Smiling City” of Curitiba, Brazil) I spent twenty-five years on local church committees and trying to start Sabbath School classes on time, struggling with the concern we have (or profess to have) for those are “fun and cute,” who “learn like a sponge” and thereafter, demand “the most investment” from persons who have the insight to confront the “difficulties” teenagers present.

I agree that indeed, without insight Insight cannot survive. Whether in the New World or in the Old (here in London).

Survival is not a matter any more, merely that affects other folk, or a matter of complaining about “The church.”

It hits home as I look at the difficult choices my daughters have to make about schooling my grandchildren. And well, I still pray for INSIGHT.

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