What a privilege to have Andy Braner with us today!
Andy Braner is a one-man study on the American teen—fast becoming the voice of young adults in the 21st century–and he’s got the credentials: son-in-law of Kanakuk Kamps’ Joe White, founder of Camp Kivu in Colorado, one of the nation’s top bloggers, and now author of the recent An Expose on Teen Sex and Dating. If you comment on this post, you have a chance to win a copy. He’s giving away five.
I love his heart and his perspective, and I know this interview will bless you.
What can a parent do today that will help their teens fully engage and love Jesus? What turns kids off from following Christ?
“Rules without Relationships always lead to Rebellion” (Josh McDowell). He nailed it 30 years ago. Parents have to make sure their kids know how much they care before they’ll buy into a faith system that mirrors what kids see. They want real answers, not fake made up things that make kids feel guilty about who they are becoming. Kids want to see a model of someone who loves Jesus, not a sermon. I think the more time parents spend doing things kids are interested in, they develop a relationship deposit system. The more money in, the easier it is to take it out. But if you don’t have any money in the relational bank, Kids tend to see it as hypocritical, careless, and more authoritarian than actual love. They need to know they care. Kids are most turned off from following Jesus by the hypocrisy they see in the church and of those who say they follow Him. They need to see a “real” Christian who admits their own sin, deals with it in real time, and lives a life full of Grace rather than just talking about it. Again, they want to follow people who seem real.
My tagline is Live Uncaged. How have you learned to live uncaged? What has God done in your life to free you?
Uncaged is my life. I don’t live by the rules. I don’t see life the same ole same ole. I find adventure in an abundant life, ready to enjoy each second. God showed me the true meaning of Grace, through some personal situations, and I live that out every day. I love watching God move in unconventional ways to give hope to the next generation. I love it. Uncaged is a great motto.
Who do you most admire in the Christian community? Why?
Right now, I love watching the legalism folks find grace. I love it when someone lives their whole lives by a set of standard and rules, and then they wake up and say, “This doesn’t make any sense.” Or…”This isn’t working. We’ve gotta have something more.” Because when that happens, I watch people’s heart open up to God’s moving. They start noticing His work all around them, and they have grace towards one another. They tend to worship God with all their heart when they see the powerful work done on the cross, and notice how it changed everything. I read many Christian authors from all sides of the spectrum, and I find truth in many sources.
What do you believe is the single most misunderstood thing about the gospel by American Christians?
I think the most misunderstood piece of American Christianity today is salvation. So many of my friends count on a prayer and a baptism card to seal the deal and make themselves feel as though they are doing the work of God as more and more people come to the cross. But how many times have we seen teenagers continue to re-commit their lives to Christ every year at our summer program! One student said he went down front 6 times through his teenage years, just to make sure he was going to heaven. So if you take that as an average, you can divide all those “salvation numbers” by 6 to get a real picture of who is coming down front. I think churches need to start being honest with the doctrine of soteriology, and start working with people on how they can continue to “work out their salvation with fear and trembling.” So many people are pointing to an emotional experience they had, and they’re missing out on half the gospel. Jesus died to forgive us our sins. There’s nothing we can do for that. “For by Grace you have been saved through faith, not of works…” But we forget the message of His Resurrection. The re-connection of God to Man, the restoration of all things new, and the ultimate re-making the world today through us, THATS THE DEAL! We tend to focus on quantity of salvations, rather than the quality of people who are trying to follow Jesus.
Love Your Neighbor
Love Your Enemy
Focus on the core spiritual disciplines.
We’ve just created a Sunday Morning Country Club show for people to come and watch, and then compartmentalize the rest of life in the ‘work week.’ I believe people who honestly are trying to follow Jesus are set apart, and we can really see the fruit God has given them by His Grace through His Son Jesus.
Thanks Andy for stopping by!
Q4u: Let’s turn the tables on you. What do you believe is the single most misunderstood thing about the gospel by American Christians? Please comment to be considered for one of five books.