TITLE: Youth Leaving the Church -1-26-2018
By Sheriena McEvers
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
SEND ARTICLE TO A FRIEND
Why are our youth leaving the church and falling away from their faith? Every Christian parent desires their children to have a strong faith that would see them through life, but too often when they leave home, they also leave their faith. We blame higher education. Yes, they do their best to undermine faith in God and destroy the faith of our youth. But, I wonder if they, alone, are to blame.
Our children spend hours under the teaching of public schools learning science, history, mathematics and language arts. We want them to do well, to succeed whether they go to college or into the workforce.
As young adults, they will spend several hours a day in the secular world that is not friendly to Christians. A real grounding in the word is needed so they can, at the very least, know with confidence what they believe, even if they can’t articulate it. They have a lot of questions. They are eager for truth. If we don’t provide that for them by the time they graduate from high school, we leave them defenseless. Vulnerable.
Think back when you needed to have an answer for your faith, but lacked the knowledge to articulate it. How uncomfortable it made you feel. Teens feel that even more deeply. We need to prepare them for such encounters. If nothing else than for their personal benefit.
If we want them to go out into the secular world with a sure faith, we need to prepare them for a world that does not like their faith and will do all it can to destroy their faith or make our son/daughter feel stupid and intolerant - the worst accusation one can receive today.
We can’t keep on pointing fingers at the secular education system. Yes, they do their best to undermine faith in God, but if our youth had a foundational understanding of the Bible and their faith, it would go a long way to preventing them from leaving their church. It is our responsibility.
If we want to stop the exodus of our youth leaving the church we need to understand they need a faith that is real, comprehensive, and easy to articulate. It is our job to prepare them for the world. Let’s take up the gauntlet and teach them or learn with them. Let’s equip them for the war on their faith that is waiting for them in the halls of our colleges.
How can we prepare our youth for a life of faith? Sunday School stories and topic lessons are great for the younger set. However, by the time the students reach high school they are ready and hungry for meat. They want to know how something on every page of the Bible applies to them.
Instead of topical studies, or studies that hop around the Bible, give them the Bible. Period. Starting in the ninth grade and continuing through high school give them the Bible to study each week. Beginning with Genesis and journeying through Revelation, take the high school years to offer the youth of your church a fundamental understanding of the Bible and their faith.
Every chapter has something to say to us, even if it is a list of ancestors. What about those people? How are they like us? What did God have to say about them? How did they relate to God’s purpose? What is God’s purpose for our lives? Is it the same as back then? See what I mean? There is always something to learn.
Apply each section or chapter of the Bible to their lives. Look for the connections. They are there. May I suggest making John 17:17 and 1 Corinthians chapters 1-3 the foundation for their Bible education? Everything else will fall into place and make sense.
Youth are brutally honest, disconcertingly honest. Making adults uncomfortable. They want the truth. Be honest with them. Give them the Bible. Expect diligent study from them. Encourage searching out the scriptures for answers.
While I’m on the subject of knowing our faith, let me carry it further. Adults, too, have a desire to be familiar with the Bible. They want to feel comfortable with the Bible. To be familiar with it. To know where to look when they have questions.
When they go to work each day and interact with their peers, many feel inadequate in their knowledge of the Bible. They don’t know for sure what they believe or how to articulate it. So they keep quiet. They might begin to doubt their faith as a result of this lack of biblical knowledge.
Knowledge of the Bible and our faith is critical. It is essential. In today’s culture where every standard is questioned, and every unholy desire pushed on us, we need to have confidence in us. Whether or not we can effectively debate our faith with people, we can have the confidence that we know the truth. Our faith needs to be unshakeable. That only comes through knowledge. Knowledge comes through hearing the word or in this case reading and studying the word so much that it becomes part of us. Part of who we are. Part of how we live. A foundation for our worldview.
If we want to stop the exodus of our youth leaving the church, it is our responsibility to provide for them, to mentor them, to obey Jesus’ command to make disciples of our youth. Let’s step up and take full responsibility for their discipleship. We can do this. Even if we don’t know that much about the Bible, we can learn one step ahead of them. Learn with them, and both our lives will be enriched. All of us will grow spiritually and be more confident in our faith.
Let’s not sit back and moan about our youth falling away, let’s realize we have within our power to do something about it.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.