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Spreading the truth: Josh McDowell brings Bold Truth Tour to Fargo

In the 40 years Josh McDowell has been ministering to youth, he's dug deeper to address troubling behaviors of born-again teenagers. He talked to them about their actions and their values. But through the years he's realized that beliefs form the...

In the 40 years Josh McDowell has been ministering to youth, he's dug deeper to address troubling behaviors of born-again teenagers.

He talked to them about their actions and their values.

But through the years he's realized that beliefs form the values that drive behavior.

And today's youth don't believe the same truth as their parents.

"The family is broken down more, kids are most broken down emotionally, it's affected their interpretation of truth," McDowell says.


That's where the Bold Truth Tour steps in.

Using video clips, drama and Christian rock band Superchic[k], McDowell tries to impart a central biblical truth - God became man and his name is Jesus.

"We use every means there is to capture a child's heart, mind and soul. ... Truth leads to transformation," McDowell says in a phone interview. He was somewhere in Alabama; he wasn't sure where.

Thursday night, McDowell will be in Fargo, presenting the Bold Truth Tour at the Civic Center.

Organizers expect between 4,000 and 5,000 people to attend.

About 3,000 tickets were sold as of Thursday.

In 1999, McDowell brought his "Right from Wrong" message to Fargo. That campaign focused on values.

Both times, he spoke to parents before the youth extravaganza. About 840 people attended McDowell's presentation in February.


Parents play a key role in influencing children, McDowell says.

While most children adopt the faith of their parents, it won't become personal for them unless they have a personal relationship with their parents.

While youth may attend church and say they're Christian, they may not behave that way.

McDowell points to statistics that show little difference in incidents of cheating, lying and violence by Christian and non-Christian youth.

"The reason I go to parents first is that most parents don't know how to build a loving, intimate relationship with their children," McDowell says.

"If your child likes to play basketball, don't take him out to play golf."

Relationships engender beliefs, McDowell says. But adults accept truth differently than their children. Adults have framed their worldview around central biblical teachings.

Youth have a more relative view of truth.


"For adults, for parents, if it is true it will work," McDowell says. "For kids, if it works, it is true."

So parents need to model the truth they believe.

In other words, they need to practice what they preach.

McDowell also spoke to pastors from across the Red River Valley earlier this year.

"If you want to see a true change, you've got to start with pastors, because they are ultimately responsible for their congregations and I respect that," McDowell says.

Dennis Jensen, director of Red River Youth for Christ, says the sessions with pastors and parents helped build momentum for the Thursday night session. Youth for Christ is sponsoring McDowell's visit.

Helping parents helps the child, Jensen says.

"To put the kids back into the same environment and wonder why he doesn't do well in following the Christian truths, it's pretty easy to see there's not the support for him to do that," Jensen says.

But Thursday night is all about the youth. Jensen says he'll likely stand out in the hallway - the music is too loud for his taste.

The event is geared mainly at 12- to 17-year-olds, although college students often attend, and McDowell says children as young as 8 could attend with their parents.

"I wish every parent would come with their teenager to the Bold Truth event," McDowell says. "It can open up windows of opportunity that wouldn't happen."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5525

If you go

What: Josh McDowell's Bold Truth Tour featuring Superchic[k]

When: 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday

Where: Fargo Civic Center

Tickets: $12 for groups and $14 for individuals in advance, $10 for overflow seating

Information: Call (701) 237-6682

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