Our culture today is not one that encourages young people to remain faithful to the Lord and to His church. I believe that outside of the home, the 3 main influences in young people’s lives are pretty much aligned against the church and Biblical teaching. These are:
1. The entertainment industry
2. The public education system
3. The media
The statistics seem to bear out the difficulty we are having in making sure that our kids stay faithful: some 8 in 10 fall away when they leave home, while one survey says that 45% of those who stay in church until they are 18 years old “checked out” of church mentally by the age of 13!
Summarizing George Barna’s 2011 research on ‘generic Christianity”, the 6 main reasons for young people leaving the Christian faith are:
1 – Christianity doesn’t embrace the culture and seeks to stifle young people from embracing it.
2 – Church is boring, doesn’t meet needs and doesn’t offer enough “experience”.
3 – Christians are out of step with the scientific world we live in and are “anti-science”.
4 – The Bible’s teachings on sexual purity are unrealistic.
5 – The church is too exclusive and doesn’t accept other belief systems.
6 – Christians are unfriendly to those who have doubts regarding their faith.
The truth is that it is very easy for us to think about all this and be pessimistic about the future of the church. I totally understand that. I admit that there are times when I feel that way myself. Yet, all I can say is that if you feel that way, pay attention to our worship service this Sunday morning because you will be lifted up and encouraged by the Aggies for Christ!
Jersey Village has been associated with AFC for several years now. Once a year a large group of young people come here from A&M to do service projects, interact with and encourage our youth group and then conduct our Sunday morning service. These young Christians not only talk the talk but they also walk the Christian walk.
And let’s be honest: when most of what we see about America’s youth is depressing, isn’t it wonderful to see young men and women who desire to serve the Lord!
Of course we can see that same enthusiasm the second Sunday night of every month when the young men in our youth group who attended our Future Preacher’s Training Camp preach.
We see this when our young men lead singing or lead a public prayer. We see that same servant attitude when our young ladies help in Bible hour, visit shut-ins or work in VBS.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that rather than focusing on the obvious negatives what we need to do is focus on the positives and encourage our young people. They are the future preachers, elders, deacons, teachers and servants of the church.
And, truth be told, events like AFC weekend and Future Preacher’s Training Camp make me confident that the church will be in good hands long after we go home to be with the Lord.
Paul told the young evangelist Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12, Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
As we will see this weekend when the AFC come to visit and as we see every week with our own youth group, young Christians are still setting the example! Because of that example, we should all be thankful!