Why have so many young adults left the church?
One of the most popular studies I’ve read regarding the church is why young adults end up leaving the church. Unfortunately, many pastors or youth leaders get blamed for this statistic. However, we cannot push the blame solely on church leaders without also looking at ourselves. The world is very good at creating doubt for Christians and that is really all they have to do in order to get a Christian to question their faith. Most adults do not handle objections from an unbeliever well so it is easy to see how some of our youth are questioning what truth really is. Another interesteing aspect of this study was why these young adults left the church. Many of them said no one could answer their questions or they were told not to question the faith. And just to “believe.” This makes me assume that kids are being required to hold to a blind faith without understanding why. That seems a bit unfair to our youth.
Today many Christians say they live life with blind faith and they know what they believe and don’t question it. They are believers who read the bible on Sunday morning and believe it to be the truth without digging into deeper questions about what this truth looks like. It’s great to live life fully trusting the Lord but can we explain this dependence to our children or grandchildren so that they will understand why we are so confident?
Kids today have more courage in asking some tough questions about life. This may be partly due to the fact that they are faced with opposition, if they attend public school, subjects like science assume that creation is only a religious view. They are told that science contradicts Christianity and that classical evolution is the only reasonable explanation for life. And in most cases our youth are being taught that science and faith are mutually exclusive. As adults it’s our duty to be able to explain why we depend on God and why Jesus is our hope. We have to be able to answer hard questions ourselves when our kids come to us with them. We aren’t going to have all the answers but it’s imperative to be able to explain our beliefs to our children. We can tell them that there is evidence for Christianity through science, history, archeology, and philosophy.
In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines.
We can’t just teach our kids bible stories, we need to start training them in the faith.
The first question all parents need to ask themselves is how much do I know about the Bible. We live in a fast paced world where social media sites like twitter will only give you a certain amount of characters to express your view and we read these twitter posts and think we are being spiritually filled. But when I say we must read the Bible I am really saying that you have to make a daily habit of reading the Bible.
When you read the Bible you are reading first hand accounts of how God used people to fulfill his will–you are reading amazing testimonies of how God used ordinary people for extraordinary purposes. These are people that would be remembered forever and all for the glory of God’s kingdom. These are examples of what God can do in impossible situations. That is something we all can relate to and something our children will ask us about.
There are amazing men and women who loved the Lord and serve as great reminders of what it looks like to obediently follow and trust the Lord. Some of these men and women were not the smartest or the most well off financially or educationally or even had enough spare time. If you need an example I can give you 12. Look at the disciples whom Jesus chose to spread the good news to the world.
Secondly, and this is the hardest but very necessary part…start studying about the history and truth of the Bible. There are a lot of different areas you can study but I suggest studying about Jesus’ death and resurrection if you don’t want to do a chronological study. There are a lot of facts about Jesus’ death that we overlook because we don’t live in the time of experiencing what a roman crucifixion is like. A good book on this topic is Crucifixion by Martin Hengel. This book will educate you, which in turn will give you confidence when talking about the Bible. You will be able to explain how no one has ever survived a Roman crucifixion.
If your kids are doubting that Jesus died on the cross you could point to them the facts. Some people will say that Jesus some how survived his crucifixion (also known as the Swoon Theory) but we know that isn’t true because no where in history has anyone ever survived a roman crucifixion.
Further, the resurrection of Jesus is what sets Christianity apart from any other religion. No other prophet claimed that he would take on the sins of the world and then be resurrected. Also, these accounts of Jesus in his resurrected form are not stories that have been passed on until someone decided to write them down. In one documented event we have recorded that there were 300 people who saw the resurrected Christ. Two books that talk about such evidence is J.P. Moreland’s book Scaling The Secular City: A Defense of Christianity and Josh McDowell’s book The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict. Both of these books also talk about when these first writings were being circulated.W
These are just a few areas to get you started. If we want our youth to know the truth about God then we must first study the evidence. There is plenty of evidence that supports Christianity but if we aren’t aware of what the facts say we won’t know how to answer our children’s questions. Since the world has plenty objections about our faith I have no doubt your children will share these objections with you.
What we do with these objections is really the key. Are we studying them and talking with the youth about why some people have these objections or are we pushing them to the wayside? Some objections are valid but many of them lack any substance about what evidence we can produce to dispel those objections. As we dig deeper for answers we will begin to see just how much evidence we have that supports the reliability of the Bible. While this won’t prevent every teen and young adult from leaving the church they will be leaving with a lot of evidence for the Bible’s reliability. Our children trust what we have to say so we musn’t neglect their questions.