Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Teen Mania Machine

You've probably heard me refer to "the Teen Mania machine" a couple of times now. But what does that really mean? In order to effectively counter any large company or organization, I think it is important to understand the 'machine conecpt,' so let's look at that a little closer.

Most machines, like a car for example, require many moving parts to work in harmony with each other, and without that harmony, the machine won't run. A car requires wheels, axles, brakes, a steering column, an engine, and many, many other parts to work together perfectly in order to get you from point A to point B. Like with most machines, not every part is absolutely essential, and you could remove some parts and still have the car work. You might be able to get around with just one brake, or with a flat tire, or maybe even a broken belt in the engine. But if too many parts start to fail, eventually the whole car will breakdown and you won't be able to drive it anymore.

Businesses and organizations like Teen Mania run in much the same way. A bunch of little things add up to making the whole organization run. Hundreds of thousands of people write checks to Teen Mania each year. Tens of thousands of people and church groups buy tickets to dozens of live events. Thousands of people volunteer at Acquire the Fire and Extreme Camps. Hundreds of high school graduates sign up for the Honor Academy each year. If a few people stop giving money to Teen Mania, or if a couple of their live events don't run so smoothly, or if they lose a few volunteers/interns, it's not the end of the world for them and the organization will keep running. But if these things start happening on a larger scale, the organization quickly reaches a crisis point and the "machine" starts to break down.

When trying to figure out how to confront a large organization like Teen Mania, the task can seem daunting and it is easy to believe that nothing you do will be able to make a difference in the long run. But it can help to look at it as trying to dismantle a large machine. You might not be able to stop a car with brute force, but if you start ripping stuff out from under the hood piece by piece, you can be pretty sure that eventually the car will stop.

Teen Mania has lots of gears & belts under their hood. It might be hard for one person to take down Teen Mania or bring serious reform to the organization. But you better believe that if enough people start actively trying to pull out parts or throw wrenches into the works, eventually the machine will stop.


  1. Why would we want to bring down Teen Mania?

  2. Anon...that's a great question, actually! I'm a new blogger, and I haven't had time to sit down and write an accurate & comprehensive "case against Teen Mania." I plan to write lots and lots of posts about the many, many problems with the organization in the future. Until then, if you're interested, the blog provides a lot of good information about why someone might want to "bring down Teen Mania," or even just work to get them to make some meaningful changes. Or just do a Google search of "Teen Mania criticism" and start reading. :)

    In the meantime, I thought it was important to provide activists who have ALREADY decided they want to take action against Teen Mania with some resources they can use towards that end, since there are so few existing activist resources. I hope that, in time, this blog will paint a complete picture of just why someone might want to confront Teen Mania, and how they can do it. It just might take a little while.