Are the youth at your church ready? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
If you’re a youth pastor, I strongly urge you to listen to this post. If you are a parent of youth, I urge you to listen. We often say the children are the future of our country. That is correct. They are also the future of Christianity in our country and we need to be reaching them.
We are not.
Statistics are showing that a majority of youth are leaving the faith when they come to college. Some of you are saying “That will never be my child!” The reality is, every child has parents and a lot of parents are saying the exact same thing. God won’t give you special favor just because you’re you if you’re not living in obedience to what He said in raising youth. God won’t shine special favor on a church just because they have a good worship band and “teach faithfully the Word of God” if they’re not honoring their intellectual responsibility to their youth.
You are not to use God as an excuse to cover up your laziness. You are not to use holiness as a cover-up for sinfulness in other areas.
As it stands, when our youth go off to college, often they enter atheism central and as a result, they will be challenged. Sunday School will go up against 25+ years of atheism. What are the possible results? I can think of three.
This is the most common one. Students in church will have emotions and experiences. They will face “facts.” How do you argue against those? This is especially true if their faith has been married to extra beliefs besides the resurrection of Jesus. Is your faith destroyed if evolution is a fact? Is it if the world is more than 10,000 years old? Is it if there is one error in the Bible? Is it if you find out we don’t have the original text of Scripture? Is it if you find the KJV is not perfect?
I’ve seen such claims before. I’ve seen people scared at the thought of an old Earth. I’ve seen them in a panic over evolution. I’ve had ministry students call me when they find out there are problems with the KJV and want to know what to do. I’ve seen panic over supposed contradictions. Every time the question comes back to “Did Jesus rise?” If He did, everything else is secondary.
Unfortunately, too many won’t reach out for answers. They will apostasize and assume they had a strong understanding of the faith they left. They didn’t. Still, they will think that and that makes them all the more difficult to reach again. Not only that, they are going out and reproducing their own ignorance in others. This is a dangerous option most will take.
Some Christians will refuse to abandon their faith. Good for them. Unfortunately, they will do nothing to seek to deal with the problem. They will only retreat further in themselves. They will say that someone can have their facts, but they will have their faith.
These students will retreat within themselves and retreat to people of like mind. They will gather together in their own isolation chambers so they can be safe from the culture. (Some of these chambers are called “Churches.”) They will not interact with the culture and when threats comes, they will not answer the questions but chase them away not wanting to consider they could be wrong.
These people are in the Kingdom, but they are also unfortunately great hindrances to the Kingdom and creating more fundy atheists by their approach.
This is by far the minority. Some people will actually determine that they want to know the truth and will study. Many of them will find the answers and they will become strong defenders of the faith and lead a rich and vibrant Christian life. The problem is that they had this in them all along but the church prior had never shown them a better way. Likely, they could have grown up in an isolation chamber.
Just imagine the good that could have been done had these people been taught this all their lives. They were not. It took a crisis to get them to that point, but at least they got to that point. The sad reality is few will be the ones who study and if they want to, many churches will in fact discourage them from doing so or look down on them. After all, those are the “unspiritual” people who need evidence and don’t have “faith.”
The reality is, the church needs #3 the most. It is like Paul said. The ones who are shamed are the ones God uses. The world will look down on those who take seriously the life of the mind now, but they are the ones who are also honoring what God said to do, to love Him with all their mind.
A caveat. Of course not everyone is an intellectual, but there is a difference between not being an intellectual and being an anti-intellectual. No Christian should be the latter. All Christians should at least know those they can go to who can help in a time of need. They should want to respect and encourage such people.
For our youth, we need to be preparing them. We don’t want them to be tragedies.