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The following is part of a monthly post aimed as conversation starters for youth leaders, small group leaders, mentors, and anyone involved in intentional living. Join the conversation in the comments. 

For those of you who have children, or others who work with them, the question has almost instantaneously changed from “Do they have one?” to “Which one do they have?” Students of this generation can figure out how to unlock a device, manage all of it’s advanced settings, or change it’s language quicker than a dog can eat a pound of precooked bacon. Our reality as leaders, then, is to tune into (no, not in megahertz either. They use gigahertz, 103 Hertz more powerful) their gear, understanding the most about it that we can. 

That’s why it comes as a surprise (does it?) to me to learn that the precious metals involved in the production of our fancy gadgets has quickly become one the most lucrative and conflict-related industries. Many of us have probably seen the movie Blood Diamond, which brought awareness to its viewers about the injustice surrounding the precious gems which determine the availability of your dream girl. But with the recent rise in demand for smaller, more efficient, and more powerful tools, so has the demand for the precious metals required to produce those desired results. 

International Rescue Committee reported an estimated 5.4 million people have died because of conflict-related causes since 1998 — a number higher than the documented amount of deaths in World War II. reports that 12 of the 13 major mines in the Congo are controlled by armed militia, similar to the story documented in the previously listed movie. 

Companies aren’t turning a blind eye, but are their efforts as good as we should hope? Apple and Microsoft are making a 38% effort toward responsible sourcing, both the respective leaders of the category [Enough Project]. But is 38% good enough? Imagine walking into your council rooms to give your report and making that statement: “Well, leaders and employers, I’ve given you 38% of my all this month. The remaining 62% I’ve cheated on!” My guess is pats on the back would be the last thing in their minds. 

A change of direction in technology is not what is being called for. But intentional living and awareness are primary to our Christian mandate, especially as leaders. Therefore, consider starting a conversation about these issues with your students. This generation is so on fire for social justice, market equality, and local economies. Our responsibility is to also enter into that conversation, advocating for the voices of the underprivileged and modern-day slaves. 

  • Does your youth group engage any of the Non-Profit movements toward social justice?
  • How do you include the parents and church leadership in the conversations youth desire to have? 

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