The next generation is plagued by busy schedules, academic pressure, inadequate coping skills, risky behavior, difficulty navigating relationships, social media comparison and now a worldwide pandemic that escalates their being the most anxiety-ridden generation in history. Teenagers average three hours, thirty-eight minutes daily online on smartphones, with 91% of Generation Z going to bed with their smart phone. Over a third of this generation knows someone who is non-binary, and one in ten will identify as something other than heterosexual. By the year 2045, Caucasians will be the minority in America. Only 4% of the next generation claims to hold to a worldview consistent with a a traditional view of the Scriptures. The average age adolescents first watch porn is 11 years-old. Nearly three-fourths of 15-18 year-olds have sexted, and half of 15-18 year-olds have sent nude or semi-nude photos and videos of themselves.
Consider as well that today’s typical high school graduate will change occupations at least seven times within their lifetime. Not jobs. Occupations. Because of the warp speed of technological advancement, a 2017 report estimates that 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 (ten years from now) haven’t even been invented yet. Such a radical shift from full-time work to a “gig economy” will mean that your teenagers will launch head-first into a world that doesn’t look at all like their parents or maybe even yours. And if everything is spiritual, this should matter to us.
The number one question we get from youth workers all across the country is “What do I do to develop student leaders?” Everyone wants to do something to identify and develop next generation leaders, and no one seems to have time to do it well or to do it at all.
Even more so, youth ministry’s historical attempt at student leadership tends to lean toward gathering select students to be a part of a leadership group, more times than not code for “the scope of your leadership will be relegated to helping our youth ministry better.” Furthermore, when you mention being a spiritual leader to most students and youth leaders, speaking, singing, leading worship and being a missionary immediately come to mind. By default, we have helped students become better at doing church. Becoming a leader in an ever-changing culture is another story….
In most churches and to most teenagers, being spiritually influential has somehow been reduced to a certain set of outcomes, an exercise in scrambling for position and achievement. Students leading within our respective ministries has been reduced to “help us make our youth group better,” with little to zero thought towards a high school student’s life outside the church’s four walls. And if everything is spiritual, every component of a teenager’s life really matters.
If truth be told, most of our youth ministries are preparing teenagers to lead a world that no longer exists.
INFLUNSR exists because you believe that there has never been a more opportune time for students to be influential in culture, now and in their respective futures. INFLUNSR exists because you fervently believe that leadership is influence and Jesus is life. Everything and anything else is simply a cheap imitation counterfeit. Everything worth doing is worth doing boldly. Everything that matters requires courage. Students should fear stepping into greatness because it is unknown and scary, but they should fear mediocrity ten billion times more because it is devastating. Too many students choose their path out of fear disguised as practicality.
We believe that you believe every student has been created with unique gifts and passion. The best, most influential version of a teenager is a teenager that is able to excel in culture in a place where their gifts and passion mesh with their purpose. We want to help you pose this question to every high school student that will listen: “What does the world need that only your gifts and passion can provide?” We want to help you fuel a high school student to do that with all their heart, until their heart fails them, because that is what God created them to do. We want to help you help students discover Whose they are and who they are so that they can launch into culture as an agent of change.
INFLUNSR. frames every Episode (month) around one of the five choices of the INFLUNSR. Code. Content is pushed to subscribers every Friday.
The first Friday of every Episode features Interview, a filmed interview with a culture leader where we discuss how faith and influence intersect. The second Friday of every Episode features Version, a coded story where we use narrative and current events to help students learn how to think about influence. The third Friday of every Episode features Interactive, where students, parents, mentors and youth leaders are encouraged to read articles, watch movies and documentaries, have discussions, and take action. The fourth Friday of every Episode feature Mentors Circle for students and mentors and The INFLUNSR. Podcast where we expand the conversation with the Interview culture leader and talk specifically about faith, parenting and leading the next generation. Bonus Edition content is pushed on Fridays of those months that have five Fridays.
Throughout each Episode, INFLUNSR. provides discussion guides for parents, mentors and youth leaders (DQ) and students (IQ) that promote thinking, journaling and application.
Every Episode is framed and built around one of these five choices of the INFLUNSR. Code. Influence is built in a thousand invisible mornings — the sum total of thousands of choices made over time:
Integrity is choosing to be responsible to what is true.
Humility is choosing first to go last.
Excellence is choosing to create a better future by going the second mile.
Courage is choosing love over fear.
Grit is choosing passion over distraction.
When you inspire, encourage and enable a teenager to start making these choices consistently over time, they become a leader worth following.
When who a teenager wants to be and who God wants them to be becomes the same to be, influence happens. Simply stated, God wants teenagers to be love. Jesus was the greatest leader who ever lived, and the reason is simple: love. Love is what Jesus championed the most. Love is how Jesus influenced others best. It will be the teenager with the greatest love, not the most information, who will influence. And INFLUNSR. drives everything through the law of Christ as a grid for students: love God, love others, love yourself.
Winston Churchill once said, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” A teenager is not a leader because they have a title. A teenager is a leader because they have the courage to act on behalf of the mission and the people they serve. Brave leaders are never silent about hard things. The greatest leader the world has ever known was the most humble and constantly saw greatness in other people.
Because you can’t be much of a leader if all you see is yourself.
INFLUNSR. champions parents, partnering with parents to help parents fuel their teenager to learn how to think, not what to think. INFLUNSR. is developmentally designed. In whatever we do, our design is to mobilize potential in high school students. INFLUNSR. is versatile, flexible and encourages self-discovery and ownership, designed in such a way that teenagers interact with content at their own pace, on their own turf, so that students are enabled to become self-feeders. INFLUNSR. is experiential, fueling application in real-world in real-time. INFLUNSR. is about circles, not rows. Influence is fueled by equal to greater parts inspiration, perspiration, information, preparation, motivation and relationships. Our students need intentional and strategic relationships with an adult mentor with leadership expertise.
“Among many things, what I love most about the INFLUNSR initiative is the meticulous thought behind equipping high school students with tools to build their own capacity for influence. INFLUNSR isn’t outcome-driven. INFLUNSR is laser-focused on developing the heart of a leader: of an influnser. Orange is proud to partner with such a revolutionary and innovative resource!”
Founder and CEO, Orange
“The number one question I get from youth workers all over the country has to do with student leaders. Everyone wants to do something for them and no one has time to do it well. INFLUNSR is the answer to that tension. The INFLUNSR collective has done an incredible job of strategically aligning timeless truths of leadership and relevant and influential voices into culture-current “wrapper” in order to give the youth worker an affordable and sustainable program to prepare young leaders to be leaders worth following in our increasingly complicated world.”
DIRECTOR OF STUDENT STRATEGIES, ORANGE
“Because we are in the information age students today are more socially aware and active than ever before. With the click of a mouse or the tap of a screen students have the ability to influence their world in a matter of seconds. INFLUNSR is the perfect resource to help students maximize their influence and leverage it for the benefit of those around them. The world needs a new generation of influencers, so we need INFLUNSR.”
Lead Pastor, Home Church
Author of Before You Go: Following Jesus and Growing In Your Faith After High School
“INFLUNSR is a comprehensive adjustment to growing God’s kingdom in a real and real-world way. Proverbs 22:6 has meaning for those of us that are older, but engaging today’s teenager requires a new and viable strategy. God has fueled the INFLUNSR team to author and outline that strategy. If you have ever wondered how you could do more... be more... serve more for God’s kingdom, allow yourself to be influenced by this latest manifesto that will help you fuel the next generation to be who God has called all of us to be - influential for the only One who matters. I’m happy to join INFLUNSR on this journey and can’t wait to see how far God takes it.”
Player Personnel Consultant, Los Angeles Rams
Former General Manager, Cleveland Browns
NFL Veteran, Philadelphia Eagles
“INFLUNSR is the first strategy of its kind that effectively connects high school students with the code of influence in real-world, real-time. INFLUNSR isn’t about teaching students what to think; INFLUNSR helps students learn how to think.”
Former White House Assistant Press Secretary
Co-Founder, Marucci Sports
Chairman, LA Golf Partners
“As an artist and music industry executive, I know first-hand the unquestioned hackneyed idea regarding what it means to be spiritual influential. INFLUNSR doesn’t just help students get out of that box: it destroys the box and helps teenagers begin to connect the dots regarding their gifting, their passion and how that meshes with their purpose in life. Let the demolition begin!”
Director of A&R, Reach Records
“INFLUNSR is uniquely designed to fuel students in a post-modern, post-Christian culture to discover their gifts, their passion and how those mesh with their purpose now and in their future. The next generation and their leaders need this resource.”
Author, How to Lead When You’re Not In Charge and The Aspiring Leader’s Guide to the Future