Young People and the Herd Effect

By: Pastor Shuffel Peter Hepburn Sr./JESHURUN Ministry

The herd effect or herd behaviour, describes the way individuals in a group act as one massive force without centralized direction. In other words all are moving together, and no one is in charge. this is what happened at the music festival. Examples of herd behaviour are riots, demonstrations, sporting events and religious gatherings.

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Text: Matthew 7:13,14; Proverbs 18:24

This message is for young people who follow the crowd ……hello/welcome………tragedies occurred on the first night of a Houston Texas Music Festival, called the Astroworld Festival attended by some 50,000. according to the Houston chronicle, it was the first Friday of November 2021, and the first festival since the pandemic started. the bulk of the crowd of mostly young people were under the age of thirty. but something was different about this festival. during the day some 300 were treated by paramedics for heat exaustion, alcohol poisoning, opiod overdoses etc. some youths paid as much as $380 dollars for their tickets. then suddenly around 9 pm things changed drastically. the crowd started moving toward the stage, no one can say why! the report says, “the crowd was moving hard.” many said they were so jammed up it was difficult for them to breathe, as their chest were crushed by the hard press. perhaps some passed out, and fell to the ground where they were trampled. eight died in the crush, and dozens were taken to hospital with life threatening injuries. numerous others were injured. what is interesting is, while the stampede was going on the music continued to play. when it got completely out of hand, the music stopped until order was restored by the police. once the bodies had been removed, and the injured placed in ambulances, then the festival continued as if nothing had happened. this is the effect of the herd which has no sense of compassion, nor value for life, let the party continue.

The herd effect or herd behaviour, describes the way individuals in a group act as one massive force without centralized direction. In other words all are moving together, and no one is in charge. this is what happened at the music festival. Examples of herd behaviour are riots, demonstrations, sporting events and religious gatherings. unfortunately the crowd is hardly ever right. there is a scriptural reference supporting this. according to Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus Christ said: “enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” this text is showing us the way to the father in heaven. it is not found along the path that is travelled by most people, it is not found by moving with the herd. there are 7.8 billion people in the world and only 2.5 billion or 32% that believe in Jesus Christ as the way to salvation.

For almost five years i taught life management skills to at risk junior and senior high students on a voluntary basis. it was the most challenging task i have ever faced in my life. it was as if the students had all met together and signed an agreement not to learn anything. as if collectively, they had agreed to ignore their teachers, and only listen to each other. it was herd behaviour at its worst, and in the worst possible place. all the teachers in that institution faced similar challenges while attempting to teach them. it was the most unenjoyable job i have ever had. every year i was tempted to quit, and find other ways to do god’s work. finally i moved on. my assistant and i did our best, however it was never good enough. while at the school, and since leaving we have seen several of the very worst of the lot being carted away in handcuffs for some criminal charge, and a few even charged with murder. we also see some of them from time to time who say thanks for the things we taught them. it seems they were listening, but needed to pretend they were not, because of the herd effect. those in the herd want to please other herd members by going along with the program. no one wanted to stand out.
when i was in high school and while in college, I was not interested in following the crowd.

I knew why i was attending an institution of higher learning. i was there to obtain a diploma, and then a degree. what the crowd did was not important to me. when classes ended instead of going on the field like many of the students, i went to study hall. i stayed up late at night burning the midnight oil. far into the night, while the scholars of the world were asleep, i was there toiling away. at the end, the lord prospered me. everywhere i worked, except my first job which i hated, i rose to the top. one day the lord blessed me with a successful business of my own. when the business was prospering, and rapidly expanding, he called me to work for him. he had me sell off the major portion of it. i turned from pursuing wealth as my main objective, to pursuing the things of the kingdom, making that my #1 priority. those following the herd cannot hear the voice of god, only the voices of fellow herd members.

On March 6, 2016 a NY times article stated that the world has a problem, too many young people. the bulk of these are in Asia and Africa and are between the ages 15-24. Africa’s youth population is continuing to rise, and is set to double in about 8 years. while Asia which is highest of all has peaked fortunately. there is unrest in many of these nations with larger population of youths. governments have difficulties educating them, and finding jobs for them. unfortunately this problem is not expected to get better with time. when the herd effect kicks in there will be riots and mass killings they will destroy businesses. it will be chaotic.

The devils main targets are the youths of the day, the majority of people killed by gun violence are young people, most of the shooters are young people, majority of those dying in auto accidents are young people, most of those who die in night club bombings and violence are young people, those dying in drug overdoses are mostly the young. while the majority of those following Jesus christ are the seasoned adults and the elderly. therefore, if christ should come today the majority of those cast into hell will be young people, because they have decided to follow the herd instead of the teachings of Jesus Christ! we have discovered that it is easier to get young people to accept Jesus christ as lord when they are away from the herd. hallelujah! Years ago while a senior in high school three or four of us living in the boarding school went to the movies. while walking back to school in the dark, we stopped at a Kentucky to get some eats. we were the only ones in the sitting area. all of a sudden cars and motorbikes pulled up, and a gang of youths walked in and took positions around the room we were surrounded.

A student i had slapped for making noise in the class where i was prefect walked in with the leader, and pointed at me. the leader came over and started threatening me. he was so close to me that i felt his spittle on my face. my friends disappeared in an instant without a word, leaving me alone with the gang. my food became so dry i could not swallow it. but i dared not show fear. the leader would not allow me to say anything, he did the talking. finally when i agreed not to touch their boy again, they all left as suddenly as they came. that gang leader later went to jail, but found the Lord and became a preacher. i walked to the boarding school in the dark by myself that night, but Jesus Christ walked with me.
I learned that the herd will often desert you when trouble comes, but Jesus promised never to leave me, never to forsake me. my friends never said a word to me about the incident nor about deserting me. but holy scriptures say, “ a man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Prov.18:24).” this friend is Yeshua, he is Jesus christ my lord. he was with me that night, and even in my disobedience he has been with me. he is not found by going along with the herd. he is found in the secret place of the most high god. he is found on our knees, in a quiet place, all alone with the master away from the herd. he who dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the almighty god. there he will be protected, Psalm 91.

Picture of Pastor Shuffel P. Hepburn Sr.

Pastor Shuffel P. Hepburn Sr.

The Senior Pastor of Jeshurun Ministry Bahamas. He has a Ph.D. in Christian Psychology and Counseling.

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About Jeshurun

Jeshurun ministry is a non-denominational Evangelical, outreach ministry in Freeport, Bahamas. We believe the whole Bible to be completely and equally inspired and that it is the written Word of God. We are located at #6 International Bazaar across from The Royal Islander Hotel, 2 Doors South of the Castaways Inn and 2 Doors East of the Perfume Factory. Come worship with us this Sunday!

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