Church Youth Need a New Approach!

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How we teach the young people in our churches today will have a big impact on the future of the church. And, sadly, many churches are merely entertaining youth instead of discipling them and equipping them with answers to the tough questions of our culture. The result is that two-thirds of young people in America are walking away from the church, and many of those who are remaining are terribly mixed up theologically. My newest book Ready to Return (authored with Jeff Kingley) highlights the beliefs of the twenty-somethings still in our churches and the results are shocking.

Creation vs. Evolution
  • Over 40% state they are not born again.
  • 35% declare the Bible has errors or they don’t know if it has errors.
  • 45% say either homosexual behavior is not a sin or they don’t know if it is a sin.
  • 40% believe “gay couples” should be allowed to marry and have legal rights, and an additional 10% say they don’t know if they should or not.
  • 20% believe there are other books other than the Bible that are inspired by God, and an additional 10% don’t know if there are.
  • 65% believe if you are a good person you will go to heaven.

Again, these are the young adults sitting in our pews!

Youth Pastors See a Conflict Between Faith and Science?

Well, a recent article commented on a study of youth pastors that determined youth pastors “‘saw conflict between faith and science’ and felt ‘under-resourced to deal with the topic.’ Though youth ministers admit they are often asked about science by students, (and the most common topic by far being origins and evolution), about one-third say they ‘never teach their youth about science.’ Further questions revealed that if youth pastors felt more prepared and had access to better resources, they would probably engage the topic more, though many expressed some concern at how other local church leaders might respond.” The reason young people ask questions about science is because to them, what they are being taught undermines the Bible as a trustworthy book of history. Sadly this doubt often leads to unbelief.

And this comment about needing access to better resources saddens me because my passion is to get the materials we have produced into churches in order to give solid, uncompromising answers to the questions that many in the church have. They need to see how God’s Word provides the lens through which to view the world from science and history to theology and morality. They need to be shown how God’s Word is the only sure foundation for their thinking. And resources are available! We have no excuse today. The problem is many pastors have been indoctrinated to believe that resources like those from Answers in Genesis should not be used—because we take such a firm stand against evolution and millions of years. Yet these are the very resources that can turn these students around—and we’ve received an incredible number of testimonies of just such positive change in young people because of the resources provided by AiG.

The pastors, youth pastors, Sunday school teachers, and parents need to be equipped to answer these questions with solid answers that stress the authority of God’s Word, not undermine it. The spiritual health of the next generation is at stake. And they need resources like our Answers Bible Curriculum for Sunday school, books like Already Gone and Ready to Return, the New Answers Books, and so on! AiG produces so many resources to equip pastors, church leaders, Sunday school teachers, and parents to stand on God’s Word and even teach on science! I encourage you to visit our website to search through our thousands of articles and our web store to find a resource for someone in your life that needs to be equipped.

Downsizing Missions Because of the Spiritual Decline

One side effect of the spiritual decline of our young people and the fruit of unbiblical theology is being seen in missions. The Baptist Press reports that the International Mission Board has an “imminent downsizing of 600-800 missionaries and staff members in a multi-million-dollar shortfall” caused by a lack of sacrificial giving to missions. But they report that this is really due to the fact that ”one thing we have failed to do in our churches is to embrace the missions assignment of helping our children and our youth understand God's field.” I submit that our young people largely haven’t been taught to base their thinking on God’s Word, so they’ve adopted the secular idea that being good is “good enough”—65% believe if you are a good person you will go to heaven, so missions is not a big deal to them!

If good people get to heaven apart from the saving grace of Jesus Christ—an idea clearly contrary to Scripture (Acts 4:12)—then why should they bother serving or giving to missions? We need to recognize, as the executive director of the Southern Baptist Convention's missions education auxiliary says, ”We have a job to do . . . We can't lose another generation . . . We have to teach them God's Word. We have to help them see all of God's world—the way He loves [people] and the way He desires for them to come to Him.”

That’s why Answers in Genesis has produced Answers Bible Curriculum. This three-year Sunday school program for kindergarten/pre-school through adult will help churches and parents to teach kids to think biblically, beginning with God’s Word in every area, and help them to be equipped to defend their faith against the secular attacks of our culture. It is a chronological study through the entire Bible with an emphasis on apologetics and biblical authority, and it’s evangelistic. Thousands of churches are using it as their Sunday school curriculum, and we are being told it is revitalizing their churches! Also, thousands of homeschoolers are using it as a homeschool curriculum. This curriculum has so much “meat” in it, not the “fluff and stuff” of so many shallow curricula available today.

We also feature the blogs and DVDs of the Wild family, missionaries who serve the Lord among an unreached people group in Asia, to help introduce families and especially their kids to missions in a biblical worldview. I encourage you to check them out—your family is sure to love them!

You can learn more about what you can do to keep our young people in church—with a vibrant faith—in my new book Ready to Return, available in our store.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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