August 28, 2013

The Class of 2017

by Jesse Johnson

Where I live (the Washington DC area), most students return to school this week. So as a service to youth pastors (to keep them from making hackneyed references) and adults everywhere (to make us feel old), here is this helpful guide to this year’s freshman, aka the class of 2017:

class of 2017

They were born in 1999/2000, which means they were too young to remember September 11. But it also means that:

They are too young to remember Billy Graham crusades (he has done 9 in their lifetime, the last one in 2005).

Unless they’ve been paying close attention to 1 Chronicles, they have no idea who Jabez is. The Prayer of Jabez was released before they were born.

Ditto with The Purpose Drive Church. That book came out in 1995.

tait and newsboys

Who is Michael with?

As far back as they can remember, Michael Tait has been the lead singer of Newsboys, and DC Talk is…who again? DC Talk has not released a new studio album in their lifetime.

For the most part, the emergent church movement came and went, all before they entered middle school.

The five largest US “churches” have remained fairly constant through their life (according to people that measure that kind of thing): Saddleback with Warren, with Groeschel, Willow Creek with Hybles, North Point with Stanely (and if you have to ask which Stanely, I refer you to the premise of this post), and Second Baptist with Young.

Speaking of hackneyed, today’s freshman have parents on Facebook, but they most likely stay away from that themselves.


He hasn’t been with Cademan’s Call in a decade, but he is on Facebook.

Derek Webb left Cademan’s Call when they were three-years-old.

John MacArthur was preaching through Luke when they were born. And in their life time, he completed Luke and Mark.

The Passion Conferences are older than they are.

In their life time, the road in front of the White House has never been open to traffic, and there have only been two presidents.

Obviously, their Bibles are on the cell phones. But so is their music. They have never owned CD’s.

The NAS was last updated before they were born, but the ESV, Holman, and New Living Translations were all released in their life time. Oh, and there have been three drastically different versions of the NIV in the last ten years (maybe one day they’ll get that thing right).


Remember this? I feel bad for the churches that made the switch from the pulpit.

The Promise Keeper’s Men’s movement had pretty much run its course before they were born.

The US has been at war for their whole lives, and if their parents are military, they have possibly gone through three deployments.

The LA Forum has never been for the Lakers, but always as a home for “Faithful Central Bible Church.“


To think that the Lakers used to roam here.

Not only had Amy Grant already crossed over, but for their entire lives, Grant has been Vince Gil’s wife.

A teddy bear from the 90's

A teddy bear from the 90’s

The WWJD bracelets were gone before they were born, but they did grow up wearing ID bracelets at church.

The first time Driscoll repented of his language in the pulpit…was before they were born.

I’ll end with some good news: They probably have never watched TBN. The only Christian TV they’ve been exposed to has likely been through stations like NRB, Sky Angel, GodTV, etc. (hey, at least its a step in the right direction, which would of course be no TV).

And finally, Tim Challies has blogged every single day since they started kindergarten.

What am I missing? What would you add to this list?

Jesse Johnson

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Jesse is the Teaching Pastor at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA. He also leads The Master's Seminary Washington DC location.
  • Laura Corombos

    Wow…you don’t hear too many DC Talk references these days! I feel old, thanks for a depressing start to the day 🙂

  • castrobabble

    Nicely done! How about (cue ominous music) the New Perspective? The class of 2017 were too young to see how the NPP took a hold of young seminarians and made them believe they were a part of a new movement in NT studies. Perhaps they will have the opportunity to see it rear its “novel” head again by their graduation 🙂

  • Billy

    You’ve made me realize that most of my favorite movies came out before they were born. Since it’s a scientific fact that men use movie quotes to communicate, I’m going to have to learn a whole new language. At least the Bible is timeless.

    • Fortunately they can watch most of those movies on their phone…during school.

  • Melissa Collins

    Lol. Thanks for a good chuckle today. It makes “you’re becoming just like your parents” make more sense to me now. 🙂

  • Steve

    Interesting post! But D. Webb took a break from jumping off the theological deep end back in 2007 and in fact did join up with Caedmon’s for a few tracks on their record “Overdressed”, which was actually a pretty good album. 😉

    • Took a break from jumping off the theological deep end. That’s a funny line.

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  • Laura Benton

    I’m pretty sure that 95% of the mp3s I own are older than these kids. They have no idea what a floppy disk is; or know how to use a real map; or how to find information without googling it; or why anyone would ever need usage of a pay phone. They have lived in an era of sports where as long as they can recall the Boston Red Sox have been a winning team (with two World Series Championships); and teams like the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts have won Super Bowls. Weird.

  • jordan

    Three popes have been in command during their lifetime.

  • Scott Welch

    The Young, Restless, and Reformed movement started.

    Hollywood awake to the fact that they could market faith films to Christians a new genre was created.

  • Richard

    The photo here brings to mind that in publicity images we see of most or all of the Christian music groups, the musicians appear so somber, or angry, or even sinister. There’s not even a hint that the Christian life can or should be characterized by the fruits of the Spirit as we read in Galatians 5:22 & 23. No joy, no peace, – just despair and woe. Why is this? Yes, secular groups look the same. But don’t Christians have overwhelming reason NOT to emulate the countenances of the lost? This has troubled me for many years, and I wonder if the living concepts of the new song of Psalm 98:1 (among others too) are ever portrayed by our Christian musicians like these.

    • On the other hand, the “happy happy happy all the time” images only tells me that they are faces in need of a fist.

  • Jason Alligood

    Ha! Funny stuff. Your post slug is “the-class-of-2018”, though. That “8” button is awfully close to the “7” button. 😉

  • Doug

    Don’t forget Stryper… Of course that puts me in the class of 1980 something 🙂

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