It was a Friday evening and cars began to pull up with teenagers jumping out and one by one forming a line that eventually went way out to the end of the parking lot. To my amazement, I later learned that over 500 teens came that night, not to attend a church youth rally, but to attend an area wide suicide prevention outreach.
Once again teen suicides are reaching epidemic proportions in our nation. Over 30 years ago a brief report on a Christian radio station to the effect that “One teenager was committing suicide every 90 minutes in America and one to two thousand every day is trying and failing.” God used that statement to send shock waves through my heart and it launched me into a lifetime of youth ministry a ministry, which still challenges my heart today. My question for this article is “Why aren’t the school shootings, that shock us every time they happen, or the reports of the rising rates of teen suicides in America enough to wake us up as Christian people to finally get passionate about reaching out to the hurting teens around us?”
Thankfully, pockets of radical and effective outreaches like the one mentioned do exist. There are solid youth groups, like the one in my home church, which have youth ministers who really care and sacrifice daily to reach the teens of their community. However in spite of that, far too little is still being done to make the difference needed in a country full of deeply hurting teenagers.
Consider, if you will, the following stats regarding teen suicide in America. These are numbers reported by the Center for Disease Control. These stats were listed on a website called “The Parent Resource Program” put up by the “Jason Foundation”, was started following the suicide of Jason Flatt, a 16-year-old Nashville Tennessee boy.
Sadly suicide is the second leading cause of death for college-age youth and ages 12-18. (2016 CDC WISQARS) WISQUARS is a web-based injury statistics query and reporting system.
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