Generation Joshua: 10 Years and Counting

October 7–11, 2013   |   Vol. 117, Programs 26–30

The best way to learn civics is to experience civics firsthand! This week on Home School Heartbeat, HSLDA’s Generation Joshua Director Joel Grewe shares how GenJ gives students a real-time education in the political process at the local and national levels!

“Leadership is supposed to be a benefit to others in a wise and godly way.”—Joel Grewe

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Parents, does your child ever dream about being the next Patrick Henry or James Madison? Join host Mike Farris and HSLDA Generation Joshua Director Joel Grewe, as they talk about preparing students for civic leadership, that’s today onHome School Heartbeat.

Mike Farris: Our guest today is a homeschool graduate and the director of Generation Joshua. His name’s Joel Grewe. Welcome to the program, Joel!

Joel Grewe: Thank you so much, Mike, I appreciate it!

Mike: Joel, can you give our listeners an introduction to the work of Generation Joshua?

Joel: Sure! Generation Joshua is designed to assist parents to raise up the next generation of Christian leaders and citizens here in America equipped to positively influence the political process of today, tomorrow, and essentially train Christian leaders.

Mike: How has your own homeschooling experience prepared you for the work you’re doing right now?

Joel: Well, it really was quite a remarkable thing. My parents made sure that they understood that my education and my training were something that I was a steward of. These were tools and resources that I was to use to better the world around me and to serve my God. And that’s the same sort of vision we try to bring to GenJ—Generation Joshua. And we try to show people that the resources that we’ve been given are stewardships. These possibilities of leadership are something that we’re supposed to use to benefit others and to use in a wise and godly way.

Mike: Joel, that is a really creative way to explain the opportunity and the responsibility to be a leader of the next generation. I’m really glad for the input your parents gave you and for the input you’re giving to young people today through the GenJ program. I’m Mike Farris.

Mike Farris: Joel, you’ve been involved with Generation Joshua now for five years. What are you currently doing to help equip students to be active, educated citizens?

Joel Grewe : We actually are doing three different things nationwide. One of them is something we call our Student Action Teams, which happen every fall, where students of GenJ are allowed to be able to come and be involved in the election process working on behalf of a pro-life, pro-family, and pro-homeschool candidate. It’s done in partnership with the HSLDA PAC , if you want more information about it. But it allows the kids to get tangible, practical, hands-on education in how this political process we live in works. That’s one thing.

Another thing we do, however, is local clubs. We have them nationwide around the country where the kids are able to be involved and invested in their local community. If that means they’re attending their local city council meeting, if it means they’re helping with a crisis pregnancy shelter, if it means that they are working with the Wounded Warriors Project: they’re taking ownership and stewardship of their local community, and they understand citizenship not just on the macro level of the federal elections but also on the local level.

The last way we do it is we try and develop leadership training within the kids themselves. That’s done via our iGovern Camps as well as our Benjamin Rush Scholarship Program, which is a non-competitive college scholarship that GenJ offers to all of its members based on their work and effort in citizenship, on the local community and on the national level.

Mike: As the GenJ motto says, the duty is ours, and the results are God’s. I’m Mike Farris.

Mike Farris: Ten years ago, we hoped to make an impact on the political landscape through local Generation Joshua clubs. Now we can look back at some significant results. Joel, can you give us an example of how a GenJ club has had a positive impact in its community?

Joel Grewe: Sure, we actually have quite a few to choose from. One of the examples of a club showing local stewardship was actually one in northern Colorado a couple years ago. They had a tornado, which is unusual, and before the town’s emergency services had fully gotten in gear, the club made sure each of their members were ok and then basically put together a plan to help dig out members of the local community, because they understood their responsibility to their local town.

Beyond that, however, these clubs are active in a variety of areas. We have a club out in Hawaii that really has done some amazing work to the point that they were recognized by their governor, and the president of the club ended up being put on the governor’s advisory cabinet to assist her in making decisions on matters that affected the views of the youth of the state.

It’s really become quite remarkable: we see almost on a daily, or at least weekly basis, a new way the clubs have found to be able to be involved in their local community, to assist people, and to represent the values we strive to put in them in display in their local community.

Mike: Joel, thank you so much for helping students to catch the vision to be a well-rounded citizen showing both compassion and a love of liberty. I’m Mike Farris.

Mike Farris: Joel, we’ve been talking to you in the middle of this year’s camp, called iGovern Pacific, that’s one of the three week-long camps that GenJ runs during the summer. Tell us what’s going on out there.

Joel Grewe: Well, it’s really quite amazing. We’ve put together a week-long leadership program where the kids are put in congressional offices. They’re allowed to work on the budget, they’re able to work on treaties, they can do impeachments. They’re allowed to exercise the legislative power. And at the same time, they’re put into political parties, and these kids design their parties from the ground up: build their platforms, nominate candidates for president. And then they run a presidential election, and that includes everything from fundraising to lobbying to the debates, the press conferences, newspaper interviews. All of the different stresses and work that are involved in that, they get to experience for a week. And it’s an amazing way to develop leadership potential in a safe environment. It’s done from a Christian perspective, it’s done solidly based on God’s Word. But it’s an amazing way to combine your faith and your political understanding in a way that develops you as an individual leader.

Mike: Joel, that sounds really great. I wish that Congress would just give them the actual legislative authority to enact their legislation for about a week; that would be a real improvement for our country. Young people, if you are interested in developing these kinds of skills, please contact GenJ. I’m Mike Farris.

Mike Farris: Generation Joshua deploys hundreds of students every fall to work on conservative, pro-life, pro-family, pro-homeschool races nationwide. Joel, why is this effort so important?

Joel Grewe: Well, quite simply, we can’t expect good governance if we don’t put good leaders in place. And we can’t expect to have good leaders to put in place unless they’re trained. And so we do both of those in one move: these Student Action Teams allow kids to work on behalf of these candidates, putting good candidates that currently exist in office, which can make a significant difference in the way that the state or the federal government goes. But also, it develops them to be the next generation of leaders that can then take the place of the ones that are currently there.

Mike: What new ideas are brewing at GenJ to help students prepare to become good leaders for the future?

Joel: Well, there’s quite a few. It seems at any given point we’re working on a new agenda or a new initiative. We’re expanding our camps program to make it available in more locations. So for those people who want to get that leadership training they can be somewhere that’s local to them. We’re currently looking at expanding our clubs program. We’ve developed a leadership corps program where we do specific, individualized education for people that have graduated out of the program that would like to come back as mentors for individual kids to develop further in their leadership capacity. For those who have graduated out of the program, it’s a great way to stay involved.

Mike: Joel, when I thought up GenJ a number of years ago, my goal was to help train the leaders of tomorrow by helping to elect the leaders of today. You are really leading that effort in a good way. Thank you so much for your work. I’m Mike Farris.

Joel Grewe:

Joel started his life as an advocate when he was in 6th grade and convinced his mother to homeschool him. In 2007, after working on Capitol Hill for J.C. Watts and then delving into the world of demographic research, Joel started training future leaders as Generation Joshua’s National Clubs Coordinator. He now serves as the administrator of all of Generation Joshua’s national efforts. A graduate of his hometown college, Eastern Washington University, he travels around the United States training youth to influence the political world for Christ. When Joel speaks, he draws on his 15 years of ministry experience and 10 years of political campaign experience to make the message relevant to a generation that he says, “Will change the world.” Living in the Washington, D.C. area, Joel, his wife Christie, and their 6-month-old son enjoy life in the fast lane.

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