Ron and Katie Luce have inspired thousands of teens to serve God. They began by practicing at home with their own kids what they preach in public.
If anyone knows something about teenagers, it’s Ron and Katie Luce. They founded Teen Mania Ministries in 1986 with a mission to “provoke a young generation to passionately pursue Jesus Christ and to take His life-giving message to the ends of the earth.”
Since then, they have traveled the globe fulfilling the Great Commission and reaching teens in huge stadium events called BattleCry and Acquire the Fire, at which 10,000 to 25,000 kids gather to dedicate their lives to Christ and accept the challenge to reach other teens with the gospel. Their own children—Hannah, 19; Charity, 18; and Cameron, 14—are a testament to their personal commitment to practice at home what they preach in public.
When the Luces started Teen Mania, they had no idea it would have such a widespread impact on teenagers, who today make up one of the fastest-growing demographics in the country. Teens in the U.S. number some 33 million, and by next year that number is expected to reach 35 million.
They are tomorrow’s pastors, doctors and missionaries, although for now many of them are fixated on less loftier goals that include mastering hand-held video games, texting and buying up trendy songs such as “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry, which they made a megahit.
Teens growing up amid the current digital revolution spend huge chunks of time in cyberspace; and when they are not socializing on networking giants MySpace and Facebook, they are flocking to malls and spending billions a year on everything from clothes to iPhones to MP3 players, according to ypulse.com, a marketing research site that tracks youth trends.
But when Ron started taking kids with him on ministry trips, he quickly discovered the personal needs many of them have go deeper than a craving for the latest iPod or cell phone.
For example, the number of adolescents who abuse alcohol, use illicit drugs and are sexually active is increasing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Marijuana is No. 1 ahead of cocaine and methamphetamine as the illegal drug of choice among youth.
The CDC says that of the nearly 19 million new sexually transmitted infections detected each year, almost half of them occur among young people 15 to 24 years old. The agency also reported that in 2007, 48 percent of high school students had already had sex.
But Ron and Katie are energetically hopeful—they believe the key to raising kids unscathed by premarital sex, drug abuse and other problems is to not allow the culture to raise them. Charisma sat down with the couple to discuss the importance of instilling values in teenagers that will sustain them until eternity, and to see how God is using them to raise up a generation of spiritually radical teens for Him.