I believe there's an encounter that the Lord has for Gen Z in this hour that marks them to be completely and wholly set apart and abandoned to Jesus.

Creating A Tabernacle For Teens

by Josh MacDonald
5/9/23 Awakening Teen Camps

A prophetic dream, the fire of God, and a burden to see Gen Z awakened to a story bigger than their own. That’s what started my journey toward Awakening Teen Camps (ATC) where my wife, Landri, and I are now directors!

When I arrived in Kansas City twelve years ago, I was a fiery young man with a passion to see lots of healings, miracles, and salvations. I traveled the country doing evangelism, seeing signs and wonders, and helping churches catch that fire. Travel remained part of my ministry, but in the next season I started working with college students. I spent years helping raise up fiery men and women on college campuses to seek Jesus in prayer and go out and do His works with power. I so enjoyed this season of training and equipping and was thriving in it until the Lord began to alert me that change was coming.

In April 2021, I had a vivid prophetic dream that included Corey Russell—a friend and fellow preacher and intercessor. In the dream, Corey and I were in a car and the Spirit of God marked us with the message of Isaiah 61, which is an anointing to preach good news to the poor, bind up the broken-hearted, free prisoners, and bring recovery of sight to the blind. In the dream, Corey then prayed that God would give that message to an entire generation. When he said, “generation,” the Lord instantly highlighted three things to me: Israel, Gen Z, and signs and wonders.

It was like I heard the Lord say, “I’m going to mark Gen Z in this hour and they’re going to get caught in a storyline that’s bigger than their own.” I believe a whole generation is going to be captivated by God and live their lives in light of His return, which includes His purposes for the nation of Israel. And the signs and wonders piece I knew was Acts 2:17, which says that in the last days, “I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh.” I got excited and began looking for ways to apply this.

Gen Z is basically middle school through college-aged young people right now, or 12–24-year-olds. I was already leading a weekly prayer meeting for revival on college campuses, so after the dream I started including all of Gen Z, and God really turned my wife’s and my hearts to that generation. Now I’m really excited to get to walk out in the natural that which the Lord has gripped me for on the inside for the next generation. Awakening Teen Camps which serve ages 12–18 are a significant part of that.

I believe there’s an encounter that the Lord has for Gen Z in this hour that marks them to be completely and wholly set apart and abandoned to Jesus. For some that means they’re going to think about the end times. For others that means they’re going to leave everything and go to the missions field. There are many ways to apply it, but it’s the call to self-sacrifice: “My life is not my own and I’m caught up in a larger storyline that’s God’s.” I’m so excited to see the Lord do that. It’s a dream come true in a lot of ways.

Awakening Teen Camps are some of the largest things we have at IHOPKC that bring in the next generation for a focused moment of impact and impartation. This year’s theme is “Make me a voice, not an echo.” I got marked at a Onething conference at age eighteen to give my life to God’s bigger story and I believe He’s going to do that for teens this summer.

My biggest priority is for teens to encounter the Holy Spirit. This often happens through meeting the presence of God through worship, prayer, and God’s Word. My second priority is that they see Jesus as relatable, that He is the sympathetic high priest of Hebrews 4:15 that knows their weaknesses and that they can run to Him not from Him in their struggles. He truly understands and can help. And lastly, that they would become true voices in their day.

We have a generation that is oversaturated with Christian content. We have access to gospel content like never before, but the con is consuming Christian content and thinking that that’s your life in God and not having your own walk. We can sound like others and mimic others, but God is looking for those that are going to become real voices in their day.

Another thing I’m adding is giving them discipleship tools they can use at home and ways to stay connected throughout the year. We’re developing a 21-day devotional for teens to use post-camp and a Zoom discipleship call. We’re trying to create more catalytic moments; we’re coming up with practical ways to stay in front of these teens all year long. We recognize that it is not our responsibility to disciple these teens in a way that would replace their local youth groups and churches back home, but we want to be a reminder to them of what was imparted to them while at camp.

We all know that the world is getting darker and darker. But at the same time we know that light is increasing. Year by year the progressive agenda is being forced and thrown into our children’s faces like never before in history. Through music, social media, and movies everywhere they go a message is being sold to them and communicated to them unlike any other time in history. 

It’s so important as parents to recognize that Satan is fighting overtime to get your kids’ attention and sell them a message everywhere they turn that is against what we believe. And so I think with the hour that we live in—with how sober it is—it’s well worth the sacrifice to send your teenager for a week to Kansas City to encounter Jesus amidst all of that.

As a parent myself of a Gen Zer, there is no investment or sacrifice too great to put my kid in an environment where they’re completely disconnected from the things of the world, an environment that’s full of the Holy Spirit, full of 24/7 prayer, and surrounded by a bunch of like-minded, fiery teenagers. It’s the perfect atmosphere for them to have an encounter. And if your kid encounters God while they’re here at ATC, it’s worth a billion dollars. I think it’s urgent now, and I think it will be even more urgent two years from now and five years from now. 

At ATC we’ve seen thousands of teens come and get marked and set apart. If you’re a parent of a Gen Zer,  think about what things you can put in front of your son or daughter that they’re going to look back ten years from now and say, “Wow, that marked my life.” I’ve talked to at least ten people in the last two months at our ministry—people that are serving the Lord in worship and prayer—that have told me that their lives were forever marked at ATC, that they are doing what they’re doing today because they came here during the summer. 

This is a ripe environment to encounter the Holy Spirit. We are holding three camps (Junior High Camp, High School Worship Academy, and All High School Camp) that are all centered around His presence. The atmosphere is already created through night and day prayer, but we as a team are fasting and praying and structuring our lives in a way to build a container that hosts the presence of God so that when these kids come here, they get thrown into an environment that’s so far outside of theirs back home that they can’t help but encounter God.

As a parent myself, I want to urge you to consider sending your teens to Awakening Teen Camps. It’s in an environment that has hosted 24/7 prayer for more than two decades with people that are giving their lives to see teens get breakthrough. Make this their summer to encounter Jesus! 

How can you help your teenagers encounter God this summer?

Awakening Teen Camps are held in Kansas City from late June through late July, with separate camps for Junior High (12–14) and High School (14–18). All camps include a mix of fun activities, high-energy games, and spiritual training and discipleship in an environment based in 24/7 prayer. Talk to your teens about registering them today: ihopkc.org/atc

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