When Pastor Ronald Molmisa began ministering to university students a decade ago, he was struck by the dearth of locally-written materials dealing with relationship issues of Filipino youth. A political scientist, he applied research and surveyed students to discern their needs. Today he is the author of the bestselling Lovestruck series (OMF Literature) on love, courtship and marriage. More than 100,000 youth have participated in his Lovestruck seminars.
What are key principles in effectively writing for and communicating with youth?
Adolescence is a period of transition—physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and socially. Writing for this readership should be guided by clear understanding of these transitions.
To be relevant, you must first comprehend their identity, predilections, needs, language and culture—what they watch and listen to. You need to spend more time with them to witness first-hand what they experience. Casual talks with students are a rich source of information. Recent academic studies are also key for understanding teen realities.
Youth ask serious questions and they need wise counselors to guide them. With the breakdown of Filipino families due to the phenomenon of parents working abroad, young people are searching for answers and care. They are not satisfied with ambivalent answers that can engender more moral confusion. They need straightforward responses that are practical and attainable.
How have you incorporated biblical principles in your books without alienating a youth culture that’s inundated by extra-marital sex in the media?
In a marketplace of ideas, I present biblical principles in my books as “tried and tested” responses worthy of utmost consideration. The majority of Filipino youth still cling to traditional values and are receptive to Christian teachings. They can find solace in the idea that despite their weaknesses and misgivings, there is a God who can understand them and heal their emotional wounds.
As a matter of writing principle, I cannot dilute the Gospel message in my work. As Paul said, we should never be ashamed of the gospel of Christ because it is the power of God unto salvation to those who believe (Rom. 1:16). Young people deserve to know the best answer to their predicament, in addition to other social and economic interventions.
How do you keep in touch with youth culture and trends?
Cognizant of the need to be always in the loop vis-à-vis latest youth trends, I maintain a strong online presence by having a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a FB group where I interact with thousands of young “netizens.” On average, I receive at least 20 online counseling requests daily—from mundane to sombre concerns.
I also regularly interact with young people in my offline ministries—discipling local church leaders, organizing events and seminars, producing an online radio program, among others. With God’s grace, I aim to publish one to two books per year.
You need to be immersed in the culture of the younger generation. As I teach them, I also learn from them. Simply put, you cannot give what you do not have.
Register online now for our webinar with Ronald Molmisa, “Writing for the Younger Generation,” on Tuesday, March 17.