Youth Culture Matters - A CPYU Podcast

40 Episodes


A podcast from CPYU (Center for Parent/Youth Understanding) discussing issues related to the world of youth culture, children, teens and young adults. Hosted by CPYU President Walt Mueller.

Episode 171: "Holy Sexuality" with Christopher Yuan
Last Tuesday at 6:11 PM

It’s no secret that conversations about sex and gender are front and center in today’s world. This creates challenges for those of us who want to communicate God’s good design for sex and gender in our homes and churches. What voices are our kids listening to? And what should we be teaching regarding what it means to live lives of gender and sexuality regarding God’s design? Today, I’m chatting with one of the most trusted and helpful voices regarding biblical sexuality, Dr. Christopher Yuan, on this practical and helpful episode of Youth Culture Matters.

Episode 170: A Look Back at our Conversation with Dr. Leonard Sax

This episode was originally released on October 19, 2020.

Recent research tells us that about half of our eleven to twenty-one year old girls regularly alter their photos to enhance their appearance online in order to find acceptance. Researchers also tell us that our girls are much more likely to experience anxiety and depression than their male peers. What are cultural forces that are shaping and even mis-shaping girls in today’s world? Why are more and more of our girls struggling to figure out who they are and how to live in the world? And what can parents an...

Episode 169: A Look Back at our Conversation with Rebecca McLaughlin

This episode was originally released on June 5, 2021.

People have always had questions, doubts, and objections to the Christian faith. Kids growing up in today’s youth culture are no exception. As they marinate in a cultural soup that encourages them to rely on their own intuition rather than biblical authority, the challenges to embracing a lifetime of following Jesus are very real.  And I fear that the nurture taking place in our homes, churches, and youth groups all too often remains shallow, leaving kids to simply embrace the cultural narrative, rather than engaging with solid biblical answers to...

Episode 168: "The Life, Impact, and Legacy of Tim Keller"

It’s been just a few days since Tim Keller went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. A pastor, writer, and theologian, Keller has had a profound impact on so many during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. I, for one, have been blessed by Keller’s ministry. Today, I’m going to converse with some youth ministry friends about the life, impact, and legacy of Tim Keller and what it means for all of us moving forward, on this episode of Youth Culture Matters.

Episode 167: "Examining Modern Lies" with Alisa Childers

Don’t judge. You do you. Be authentic to yourself. God just wants you to be happy. These are just some of the cultural mantras that saturate the soup of today’s culture. If we aren’t careful, even followers of Jesus Christ can get swept up in the spirit of the times and believe these lies that we see and hear on social media each and every day. Alisa Childers will help us understand how to listen to evaluate and respond to these cultural lies as we talk about her new book, Live Your Truth and Other Lies: Exposi...

Episode 166: "Walking With Those Experiencing Gender Confusion" with Nicholas Black

Our kids are growing up in a world where questioning one’s birth gender is an encouraged option. With more and more of our kids questioning their gender and even taking steps to transition, we need solid guidance on how to compassionately walk alongside them and minister to them in ways that glorify God. Stay tuned as I chat with my friend Nicholas Black about what to do say and what to do with those who are experiencing gender confusion on this episode of Youth Culture Matters.

Episode 165: "How Is Social Media Discipling Kids?" with Chris Martin

It’s mind-boggling, isn’t it? I’m talking about the rapid advances being made in technology and social media. As parents and youthworkers, it’s essential  that we not only keep up with these changes, but that we also develop biblically-faithful strategies for helping our kids and their families navigate the use of these tools in ways that bring glory to God and advance our human flourishing. Knowledge, caution, and wisdom are necessary. That’s what we’ll address as we chat with Chris Martin about his new book, The Wolf in their Pockets: 13 Ways the Social Internet Threatens the...

Episode 164: "Suffering Draws Us Closer To God" with Dan and Kristin Sterk

Where is God in the midst of the trials and suffering we face in life? Jesus told us that in this world we will have trouble, and the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation is filled not only with testimony to this fact, but with a theology of suffering that we must know, embrace, and pass on as an inheritance to our kids. If you’re like me, you often wonder how God works in the lives of those who face unimaginable suffering. When all seems hopeless is there any hope? Today, I chat with some young youth worker fr...

Episode 163: Announcing The Northeast Youth Ministry Summit

So today, I’ve got great news for youth workers! CPYU has put together a youth ministry training opportunity that we know will encourage and equip you as you look for ways to effectively minister to kids and their families. And I want to invite you to join us for four days in March to hear from sixteen gifted youth ministry trainers in five plenary sessions and your choice of twenty-eight different breakout sessions. Listen in as we introduce the Northeast Youth Ministry Summit and how to bring biblical hope to anxious hearts, on this episode of Youth Culture Ma...

Episode 162: "Theology of the Body" with Timothy Tennent

We can’t answer the question What am I to do?, until we first answer the question “What am I to believe?” As Christians, we are called to listen to God’s Word, seeing it as the light that shapes our beliefs and guides our choices. Perhaps there’s no more urgent place in today’s world to embrace this reality than in God’s good gifts of marriage, sex, and gender. In an effort to help us recover and live out God’s will and way in these areas of life, Dr. Tim Tennant has written a fabulous book that will i...

Episode 161: "Thinking Wisely about Dangers" with Julie Lowe

Because our children and teens are vulnerable, they need to be protected. After more than two decades as a family counselor, our friend Julie Lowe has seen how important it is to help parents and caregivers think wisely and biblically about the dangers children face. Instead of living in fear or denial, parents and caregivers can equip children to assess people and situations and model for them how to live by faith in a world where evil exists. Today, we chat with Julie to get insights from her brand new book, Safeguards – Shielding Our Homes and Equipping Our Kids, on...

Episode 160: "ROAR like a Mama Bear" with Amy Davison

Culture is catechizing and indoctrinating our kids twenty-four seven. From the time they emerge from the womb, our kids grow up in a media-saturated world that tells them who they are, what to believe, how to live in the world. Sadly, the culture more often than not steers our kids away from the life-giving answers that the Bible provides to all these questions. Parents and youth workers, we need to be intentional about teaching our children and teens a biblical worldview, and that’s we’re talking about today as we chat with Amy Davison from Mama Bear Apologetics, on t...

Episode 159 - "Fostering Intergenerational Relationships" with Tony Souder

Anyone who takes the spiritual growth and nurture of children and teens seriously can’t help but lament all the data that points to reality of so many young people coming of age and walking away from Christ and his church. But our lament is for naught if we don’t take steps to reverse this troubling trend. Today, we chat with our friend Tony Souder about some specific ways we can build the long-lasting faith of kids through fostering intergenerational relationships and facilitating intergenerational ministry opportunities, on this episode of Youth Culture Matters.

Episode 158: "Does Social Media Use Bring Out The Fruit of the Spirit?" with Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra

It was the late great media theorist Marshall McLuhan who said that first we shape our tools and then our tools shapes us. He went on and said, we become what we behold. Any of us who have used social media know that McLuhan was spot on. . . and if we don’t know it, we need to. Today, we take a look at how social media is shaping and misshaping us as moms, dads, kids, and youth workers. Listen in as we chat with Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra about her own story and her practical and Gospel centered book, Social Sa...

Episode 157: "Youth Ministry Mulligans and Do-Overs"

If you had it to do all over again, what would you do the same, and what would you differently. I can tell you that the older you get, the longer your list of answers becomes. Recently, I’ve been thinking about what I would add to my list of youth ministry strategies and practices if I was starting off this school year leading a local church youth ministry. I’ve come up with a list that I hope will encourage and equip you to be more effective in your youth ministry, and we’re talking about that list on thi...

Episode 156: "Ministry to Parents" A Youth Worker Round Table Discussion

Well, all that hot fun in the summertime that sly and the family stone sang about so long ago is coming to an end as the fall is upon us and we are getting back into the swing of things with our youth ministry schedules. The big question we’re asking you today is this: What are you doing with parents? We’ve put together a roundtable of youth workers who talk about the importance of ministry to parents along with a host of parent ministry ideas and strategy, on this episode of Youth Culture Matters.

Episode 155: "Exploring Faith's Big Questions" with Mary Jo Sharp

One of the greatest challenges facing the church, the home, and youth ministry today is the need for effective Christian nurture and discipleship that will lead kids to a deep faith that informs all of life for the rest of their lives. One necessary component in these ministry efforts is to welcome and answer the kinds of doubts and questions teenagers express about Christianity. Darkroom is a brand new series of free videos and support resources marked by quality in production and content, designed to be used by church and home to spark deep and meaningful conversations about the...

Episode 154: Teaching God's Plan for Sex and Gender at Home and in the Church

It seems that you can’t get away from all the cultural noise regarding issues of sexuality and gender. Sex education is coming fast and furious at our kids at younger and younger ages. This means its more important than ever that we speak and keep speaking about sex and gender from a biblical perspective. And, we must start to share God’s truth with even our pre-school children. What should we be teaching them about sex and gender. Stick with us as I chat with a group of parents and youth workers about ten truths from God’s Word o...

Episode 153: "Responding to the 10 Commandments of Progressive Christianity" a Discussion with Youth Workers - Part 2

Christian apologist Alisa Childers has called Progressive Christianity an entirely different religion from historical biblical Christianity. It has, she says, another Jesus and another Gospel. By twisting the Scriptures, Progressive Christianity plays well in today’s youth culture, and it is leading our kids away from obeying God, and into following their own feelings and preferences. To effectively lead our kids into a deep understanding of the Christian faith, we need to be able to recognize and answer progressive Christianity’s half-truths. That’s what we’re doing today as we chat with six youth workers about how to correct...

Episode 152: "Responding to the 10 Commandments of Progressive Christianity" a Discussion with Youth Workers - Part 1

The late pastor Dr. James Montgomery Boice once said that “we must evaluate our experiences by the Bible’s teaching, rather than the other way around.” If we aren’t careful, the church, our youth ministries, and our selves will fall into the dangerous and deadly trap of believing, living, and leading in ways that are marked by that other way around. As youth workers and parents, we need to be aware of how this is happening through the advance of what’s called progressive theology, and we need to mindfully push back by staking ourselves to the truths of God’s W...

Episode 151: "Does Wokeness Mesh With A Biblical Worldview?" with Noelle Mering

A few weeks ago, a newspaper headline asked, “Is woke to be the only religion allowed in U.S. public schools?” Another headline reported that the Google search engine has gone woke, by adding an inclusive language function designed to suggest politically correct terminology. Our kids are learning that being woke is a virtue. What does it mean to be woke? How does wokeness mesh or not mesh with a biblical world and life view? How can we talk with our kids about wokeness in ways that are informed and balanced? Is there a Christian response to the dogmas of w...

Episode 150: "Digital Distraction" a Youth Worker Panel Discussion

What was the first thing you did this morning when you opened your eyes? Perhaps even before you got out of bed? A growing body of research says that you, like many others, grabbed and checked your smartphone. Have you ever spent time thinking about what your smartphone might be doing to you, your brain, and relationships? Stay tuned for some interesting insights from four boots on the ground youth workers about what they see smartphones doing to their students, along with some honest confessions about what those same phones are doing to them. . . on this episode of youth...

Episode 149: "Spiritual Growth at Summer Camp" with Greg Anderson and Nate Parks

With summer fast approaching, many parents and youth workers are considering which summer activity options are the best ways to promote spiritual growth in children and teens. I believe one of the most valuable experiences we can give to our kids is time away from normal life and a chance to unplug and power down. Perhaps the perfect place to see this happen is at a Christian camp. Here at CPYU we are so excited about the benefits of Christian camping that today, we talk with two long-time camp directors, Greg Anderson and Nate Parks, on this episode, of...

Episode 148: "Teens and Suicide" with Julie Lowe

Suicide is one obvious sign that things are not the way they’re supposed to be in our world. For a growing number of our kids, the sad reality is that they come to believe that suicide is their only means of escape from a life that seems darker than the darkness of death. As parents and youth workers, we need to guide our kids into building their lives on the foundation of being known and loved by God, a foundation that will provide them with hope in the midst of difficulty. Today, I’m talking with counselor Julie Lowe...

Episode 147: "What Is Social Media Doing To Us and Our Kids?" with Chris Martin

This morning as I left my house, I grabbed three things: my car keys, my wallet, and my smartphone. Chances are, you did the same. And if you’re like me, you check your phone and social media early in the morning, before going to bed, and who knows how many times in between. It’s so much a part of daily routine that we don’t even realize we’re doing it. Not only that, we have little or no idea about what our smartphones and social media might be doing to us. Today, I talk with author Chris Ma...

Episode 146: "The Right to Happiness" with Crystal Kirgiss and Duffy Robbins

I recently saw a meme that featured this very familiar desire shared by parents everywhere: What I want more than anything else is for my kids to be happy. As a parent, I always wanted my kids to be happy. In today’s culture, the pursuit of personal happiness is at the foundation of our beliefs and behaviors. But what happens when we emphasize the pursuit of personal happiness to the extent that it derails our kids from faithfully following Jesus? Stick with us as I chat with Crystal Kirgiss and Duffy Robbins about the most healthy ways to th...

Episode 145: "Choosing a Godly Husband" with Tom Stein

After each of my four children were born, I spent time wondering about the course their lives would take. What did God have in store for their futures? What would God call them to vocationally? Would they be called to singleness or marriage? And if it was marriage, who would they choose to marry? As a youth pastor, I asked the same questions about my students, especially as marriage has declined in our culture. I would oftentimes pray for my own two daughters, asking God to provide good husbands if in fact marriage was in His plans. I also...

Episode 144: "What Should We Make of Rachel Held Evans' Children's Book?" A Discussion with Elizabeth Urbanowicz

There’s little chance that we are able to discern biblical truth from the spirit of the times until our roots go deep through washing and delighting ourselves each and every day in the Word of God. Sadly, many of those called to nurture children and teens in the faith today are misleading the young by never faithfully teaching the truths of God’s Word. And without a knowledge of the truth, the enemies lies are more easily believed. Even what seems like an innocent Christian children’s book can put kids on a fast road away from the true C...

Episode 143: "Apologetics in a Post-Truth World" with Graham Dennis and Stephen Nichols

It was over three-hundred and fifty years ago that Richard Baxter wrote, “Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow.” Baxter’s words are timely for life in our world today, as we tend to feel around for what is good, true, and right, rather than engaging our brains to find what is good, true, and right. This shift has created challenges to our efforts to always be ready to give an answer for our Gospel hope. That’s why we’re chatting with Dr. Steve Nichols and educator Graham Dennis about the place and practice o...

Episode 142: "Youth Workers Pose Tough Questions to a Counselor" with Julie Lowe

Parenting and youth work these days hasn’t gotten any easier. Both involve relating to and leading kids who have to navigate a difficult and confusing world. This means that as leaders, we have new challenges to navigate as well. Counselor and author Julie Lowe is no stranger to these difficulties, and we’ve found her to be a source of great wisdom and guidance as we encounter tough situations. Stick with us as Julie answers many of the questions facing parents and youth workers in this rapidly changing youth culture, on this episode of Youth Culture Matters.

Episode 141: "Work" with Dan Doriani

Remember Kevin Malone from The Office? The sitcom character once said, “I work hard all day. I like knowing that there’s going to be a break. Most days I just sit and wait for the break.” I laughed when Kevin said it. But for the Christian, work and our attitude toward it is to be something different. Sadly, most of us don’t know what that something different is. Too many of our kids are growing up without a working theology of vocation, calling, and work. And if we want to see our kids liberated from the cultural narrativ...

Episode 140: "Squid Game" with Kevin Yi and Clark Fobes

There’s absolutely no way we can ignore it. The Netflix nine part series Squid Game is a big hit across cultures and generations. It’s especially popular among our kids. Since pop culture artifacts like Squid Game serve as a worldview forming and reflecting map for our kids , we need to pay attention. And that’s what we’re doing today as we chat with our friends Clark Fobes and Kevin Yi about Squid Game, it’s message, its meaning, and how to respond, on this episode of Youth Culture Matters.

Episode 139: "Cultivating Wisdom" with Brett McCracken

You most likely remember Paul McCartney taking the lead on the Beatles’ classic 1970 song, “Let It Be.” Devastated by the death of his mom Mary to breast cancer when he was only 14 years old, McCartney was paying homage to the memory of his mom’s best advice when he sang, "When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.” Wisdom. It’s much needed and sadly, in short supply. We live in a world where social media and technology undermine our wisdom, and we are fattening up on foolishness...

Episode 138: "Encouragement from Walt's First Youth Pastor" with Phil Douglass

1970 was a long, long time ago. In September of that year, Ford introduced the Pinto. The supersonic Concorde landed for the first time at Heathrow Airport. The first New York city marathon was held. Both the Mary Tyler Moore show and Monday Night Football premiered. And along with all of that, I was fourteen years old and starting my freshman year of high school. That was also the year when a new youth pastor showed up at our church. Fifty one years have passed since the day I met Phil Douglass, and I’m really excited to reconnect with Ph...

Episode 137: "Sexual Attitudes and Practices of Evangelical Young Adults" with David Ayers

On the night before his death, Jesus prayed what’s now become known as his high priestly prayer. As he prayed the will of the Father for his disciples in all times and all places, he said, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is the truth.” For the follower of Jesus, our place is to be in, but not of the world. In today’...

Episode 136: "A Student's Guide to Navigating Culture"

Way back in 1678, John Bunyan wrote the classic book, The Pilgrim’s Progress. The allegory brings to life the difficulties followers of Jesus face in navigating the challenges of living to God’s glory in this broken world. Even though the story is almost three hundred and fifty years old, Bunyan’s young protagonist, Christian, is not unlike our children and teens today. How can we equip our children and teens to navigate the unique set of pressures, dilemmas, challenges, choices, and expectations they face in today’s youth culture? Are there ways to facilitate the development of Christian wisdom a...

Episode 135: "A Look Back at Episode 83 - Understanding Transgender in a Changing Culture"

Welcome to Youth Culture Matters, a podcast from the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding. We’ve taken a short break from recording new episodes, so today we want to go back into our archives to highlight a timely conversation. Today's episode is a look back at a discussion with Peter Lynas that aims to help us better understanding the transgender issues rapidly taking shape in today's culture. Listen in to a replay of Episode 83, titled "Understanding Transgender in a Changing Culture" with Peter Lynas. This episode was originally released on May 13, 2019. 

Episode 134: "Integration of Faith and Sport" with Tim Sceggel

One of the most frequent concerns I hear from youth workers regarding the influence of today’s youth culture, are concerns related to the growing involvement of kids and families in youth sports. These days families are spending more time and more money on youth sports, sometimes pulling kids out of opportunities for spiritual growth. Even those of us who don’t play, but who watch college and pro sports, can easily develop idolatrous habits? What is it that’s driving our obsessions with sports? Can we engage with sport in healthy ways that bring glory to God? And how ca...

Episode 133: "Anxiety, Stress, and Fostering Resilience" with Marv Penner

You might remember Kanye West’s 2007 chart-topping single, “Stronger.” In the song West quotes the famous line from Fredrich Nietzsche, “that which does not kill us makes us stronger.” According to the Bible, that’s true. But in today’s world, we are told that the emerging generations increasingly believe the opposite, that what doesn’t kill you makes you weaker. Are our kids losing their ability to do hard things and endure difficulty? Are we coddling and protecting them out of healthy growth and development? And, what can we do to reverse the tide and begin to facilitate spiritual growth...

Episode 132: "Grandparents and Prayer" with Tony Souder

On the day I became a father, everything changed. And then, on the day almost eight years ago when I became a grandfather, everything changed again. When I became a father, I earnestly prayed for my kids as I knew they were growing up in a world markedly different from the world that I grew up in. Now, as a grandfather, my prayers have increased as the challenges of growing up have ramped up even more. I am convinced that for kids growing up in today’s world, the role grandparents can and must play is more than necessary. An...