In the birthplace of the Promise Keepers (PK), a new generation of youth and young adults is giving itself to the Lord and to their schools following a two-day conference in Colorado.
Telling students that Promise Keepers (We're Building on the Past to Redefine the Future) sprung up from Boulder, filling stadiums and the National Mall with 1 million men on fire for Jesus, leaders are encouraging youth to spiritually adopt their schools through prayer, service, outreach and discipleship, starting with See You At The Pole on Wednesday, Sept. 28.
Speaking to youth and young adults gathered at Vinelife Church—formerly the Boulder Vineyard and the birthplace of PK—during TheStandard Youth Conference 2022 Colorado, leaders challenged students to pray for a move of God as big as those before it.
Following PK's birth in Boulder, another Colorado-born movement of young people filled the same spot in Washington, D.C., with 400,000-plus youth fasting and praying 22 years ago. The Call and a ministry before it, Rock The Nations, originated from Colorado and filled arenas and stadiums with young people over a 15-year period.
Lou Engle, the founder of Rock The Nations and The Call, tells today's youth—like he did with previous generations—to consecrate their lives to the Lord.
"Why don't we call kids to this very room—where Promise Keepers started—to a seven-day fast unto God for something that would shake Colorado and the nation?" Engle asked Shannon Clark, the director of The Standard.
Clark founded The Standard in 2020 and led the first conference in Denver last year with financial support from an investor and mentor—a stranger at the time—seated next to her in a coffee shop, where Clark was preparing a message for students at youth camp.
Clark, today a youth and worship leader at two Colorado churches and The Standard's director, was 13 when she first heard Engle talk about "a consecrated life" at The Call and at a conference in Kansas City.
"I remember standing up at the One Thing conference, telling the Lord: 'You have my yes' after hearing 'Papa Lou,'" as a now 32-year-old Clark calls Engle.
After a mass shooting at a Colorado school, Clark drove by the site praying, "Lord, you've got to raise up a new standard."
She invited Engle to speak at The Standard's first conference.
A spiritual father to Gen Z and Millennials, Engle, at, 70 prays for sons and daughters, asking the Lord to "at an early age—their teenage years—mark them so that their lives won't be shattered."
Telling young people they're in what he calls an "Elijah Revolution," referring to the biblical showdown between the prophet of God and wicked rulers Ahab and Jezebel described in 1 Kings 16, Engle says defiling social-media messages lead youth away from God.
"There are ideologies of demonic powers that hate the image of God, including pagan teachers in our schools," Engle says.
He's convinced social media is attempting to disciple students with pornography and lies of the enemy.
"The censorship of the body of Christ is real. Twitter and Instagram are silencing me because they want to disciple you," Engle says.
Calling out their true identities as sons and daughters of the Most-High God, Engle says Gen Z is in reality immortal like the resurrected Jesus.
"If you listen to TikTok, you'll be seduced by a spirit of delusion, leading you to believe a lie over the truth," Engle tells youth, created male or female in God's image.
In Clark's message to The Standard on its final night, Sept. 24, she recounted the biblical story of a deceased 12-year-old girl, comparing it to modern culture's report that Gen Z is dead.
While praying about biblical texts Matthew 9:18-19 and verses 23-25, Clark saw Matthew 9:24 in a new light. Sept. 24 is numerically 9/24.
The next day, Sunday, Sept. 25, marked the beginning of the Jewish New Year, or Rosh Hashanah, and the beginning of Israel's high holidays.
"Rosh Hashanah is significant," says Clark, noting The Standard ended on 9/23 or 'New Year's Eve' on the Jewish calendar.
"This next year is about recompense, a big word meaning that God is going to recover what was lost and stolen. It's a year of judgment on the enemies of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.
"There is a word the enemy has released over Gen Z, saying it's 'dead'; that's not true because, when Jesus comes onto the scene in the biblical story, He says the little girl is only sleeping," Clark points out.
Within schools and among families and friends, Gen Z is called to prophecy: "Students, you will live and not die. Suicide, you will not have a place in my high school. Depression and anxiety, you will not have a place on my soccer team," Clark declares.
Like when Jesus raised the little girl from the dead, He is about to raise Gen Z. "He's starting with students all over the world who will say 'yes' to Him. I declare to you in faith, 'Jesus is coming to you to restore everything that was lost by Gen Z,'" Clark says.
A team leader at The Standard with Clark, Kevin Kelly worked previously at a psychiatric children's hospital before assuming leadership of the student-led 'Adopt A School' prayer and sending campaign.
He knows first-hand that kids are hearing repeated, tormenting voices from the enemy who tells them "the world is dead."
Kelly believes the medicine for hopelessness is prayer. For the remainder of September and most of October, students will initiate prayer campaigns first at flag poles on Sept. 28, followed by intercession for classmates and their schools.
Youth who attended The Standard also pledged to PRAY and "take your school by storm," a spiritual advance aimed at engaging Gen Z in outreach leading to "empowered discipleship" opportunities within youth groups.
Steve Rees is a former general assignment reporter who, with one other journalist, first wrote about the national men's movement Promise Keepers from his home in Colorado. Rees and Promise Keepers founder Bill McCartney attended the Boulder Vineyard. Today Rees writes in his free time.
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