From The Pastor’s Heart
I have said many times that our youth are a vital part of our church body a ministry. This week I came across an article written by J. Warner Wallace, the author of Cold-Case Christianity that pulled together much of the research that has been done regarding the direction our churched youth are going as they transition into adulthood. The numbers are staggering. According to various studies somewhere between 70% and 90% of today’s youth, that grow up in church, leave the church in their first year out of high school.
The primary reasons are that they have troubling and unanswered questions about the faith, and they have never personally owned their faith. When they go out on their own for the first time, without a strong foundation, they are quickly swept away by the enemy. The predominant worldview that teenagers have today is that there probably is a god who watches over human life on earth but he doesn’t really become involved in our lives until we need Him to resolve a problem for us. They think that God wants us to be nice, kind and fair to each other as taught in the Bible and most religions, and if you do good you will go to heaven. Finally, the central goal of life is to be happy and feel good about oneself. That is mainstream “faith” or “religion” in our western culture today, not only among our youth, but it is becoming more prevalent among adults as well.
Colossians 3 says, “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.”
That is a stark contrast to the self-serving culture I described above. We are to keep our eyes on Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. We need to set our sights on things above, not our own happiness and comfort. The things of earth will take our eyes off Jesus. It is so easy to get sidetracked by a world that is desperately trying to get our attention and pull us away from the One who saved us and the One we are called to serve.
Whether you are young, old or in between, let’s renew our commitment to keep our eyes on Jesus this week. Some things that help keep us focused and build that strong foundation are studying the Bible, going to life group, praying, worshipping and going to church with other believers. It takes intentional work. It may even feel inconvenient but shouldn’t that be our first priority? After all the rewards are eternal!
Have a blessed week!