Have you noticed how kids all over the world seem to look alike? Fashion trends span the globe, music is no longer regional, technology looks, feels and works the same no matter where on earth you are. Because we have all access all the time, we are starting to see that the teenage “norm” has gone global—crossing cultural and religious boundaries.
One example of how globalization has negatively impacted the lives of Egyptian teenagers is through an online social networking service called Facebook. Ten years ago in Egypt, there were only 8,000 households online; today that number has jumped to over 8 million. In fact, Egypt has the second highest per capita Facebook population in the world.
Our research has found that a great number of young, Christian Egyptians are leaving the church because of legalism and feelings of disempowerment. Instead of building their faith by spending time in the Good Book, they are building their friend lists by spending time on Facebook. Young people who feel unwanted by the Christian church are simply leaving. Instead they are spending their time on Facebook because that is where they feel important, popular, belong to something bigger than themselves and given a platform where they think the world is listening to them.
Furthermore, Christian Egyptians live in a nation where they are denied the best education and jobs because they are not Muslim. Since the Christian church is failing to offer them anything, they are, in essence, being forced to turn to Islam—not because they want to practice the faith but because the label of Islam affords them opportunities that were previously denied them.
This is just one powerful example of a macro trend that we are starting to see spread across the globe. It might sound scary and disheartening, but it gives us keen insight into the incredible opportunities available for the Church to leverage global trends and tools to provide the Gospel to young people across the world.