The Next Generation of Leaders

May 13

A couple weeks ago I spoke to a group about our organization and about some tangible ways we integrate faith values into the legislative process. However, this audience was a bit different than usual. It was composed of students in the 13-19 age range. They were part of the 4-day North Dakota class hosted by TeenPact, and they were teens who may be our state’s next generation of leaders.

In their words, TeenPact is an organization that seeks to:

Help students understand the political process, value their liberty, and engage the culture. Through hands-on and practical teaching, students learn how to embrace their call as the next generation of leaders, find encouragement among like-minded peers, and develop the skills to engage the culture.


I must admit, it’s a fascinating program and I was honored to be asked to speak. I’m sure other speakers, who included select legislators and others engaged in the political sphere of North Dakota, felt the same way.

Two things struck me in particular when I visited with the group. First, when I walked into the room, they were holding a floor session of their mock legislature. It was as though our state legislators were magically transported back a few decades in age. Their session was well run, “correct” regarding rules of order, and challenging, as students who had written bills needed to defend and get them through their “chamber”. They were taking it very seriously and with some of the same passion I have seen on the floor of our legislature during sessions. It may have been a mock session, but it seemed pretty realistic to me.

The second thing that struck me was their interest in bills being considered this session. In the Q&A session at the end, I read off the subjects of bills our organization was engaged on. I then asked if anyone would like me to elaborate on any of the bills and I would guess that perhaps 40 of the 50 students raised their hands. These teenagers share your passion about the same issues and want to know more about how to handle tough pro-life and pro-family issues in the legislature and beyond. Their enthusiasm was incredibly encouraging to me and should be to you as well.

TeenPact is a program that can light a fire in students to exercise their biblical citizenship, and I applaud them for that. How many of these students will go on to hold political office in our state, actively engage in the legislative process as citizens, or speak in the public square on matters of biblical values, nobody knows. But if organizations like TeenPact inspire a new generation of leaders to act on their faith values, then I say bless them. We need to ensure that our values are not only passed down to our children and grandchildren, but that they realize they need to act on them, or their freedom to live by those values will surely be taken away.


Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director


P.S. While we are very excited about TeenPact, please note that this email is not a formal endorsement of the program. To learn more about TeenPact, you can visit their website at: