2018 Resources for Urban Youth Workers on Cultural Trends

2018 Resources for Urban Youth Workers on Cultural Trends 

by Rev. Dean Borgman, Professor of Youth Ministry

While nothing can substitute for personal relationships of understanding and trust with youth, we also need to get a grip on the bigger picture. We need to see beyond our kids, family, church, and community—to what’s going on in the society and culture. These resources provide a wide angle lens on what our kids step into when they leave the house.


Watch the watchers. Way back in 1980, I found out that the people who know the most about youth in this country are not the youth ministry professors (of which I am one), but the marketers. 

So I’ve been following the marketers and what they find out about young people. YPulse is one of the marketing sources I regularly visit. They regularly update information on trends in youth culture.


Two scholars I’ve looked to for information especially in the last few years on trends in youth culture are MIT's Sherry Turkle and San Diego State University's Jean Twenge

Jean Twenge uses four major youth studies that come out every year from the government and universities, so her research is based on a sampling of 11 million teenagers—ample data to back up her conclusions.


Finally, the Barna Group, a broadly reputable Christian organization, does generational research.



If we're talking about youth in 2018, we're already talking about Black Panther and activism against gun violence. But two other issues deserve our special focus this year. These are depression and cell phone use.