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A former high school teacher and youth pastor discusses the importance of training young people and some of the new resources designed to help them recognize the authority of God's Word.
Growing up in today's culture is extremely difficult. Although young people today have access to more gadgets, technology, and information than any other generation, they are being immersed into a hedonistic (self-gratification) worldview. Many believe that the meaning of life is whatever brings them pleasure.
Many churches cater to this mentality by telling people what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear. In fact, Paul warned Timothy that there will come a time when people will not endure sound doctrine, and instead, will gather teachers who will say what their itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3). We still see this mentality in churches that seek to entertain rather than teach the whole counsel of God.
I have spent the past decade working with junior and senior high students as either a youth pastor or teacher in Christian schools. During that time, I noticed some disturbing trends. First, many of these young people walked away from the church as soon as they left home. It was usually easy to predict which students would do this based on their behavior and interests in high school.
Second, with very few exceptions, it seemed that these students had already decided whether or not they would be interested in God's Word by the time they reached high school. For the most part, those who remained faithful throughout high school and college, were raised in homes where parents consistently reinforced what I taught in the Bible or science classroom at school or in youth group. Those who walked away generally came from homes where Christianity was given little more than lip service.
I quickly realized that helping these young people develop a biblical worldview at an early age is extremely important. I knew they were being bombarded with messages that contradicted Scripture, especially concerning the foundational book of Genesis (e.g., millions of years). Our world preaches relative morality, hedonism, sexual promiscuity, and many other concepts contrary to the Word of God, and unless a young person has the solid foundation of God's Word, there is little hope of countering the effects of the culture in their lives.
In 2009, Ken Ham and Britt Beemer published the book Already Gone. The statistics contained in this excellent resource confirmed my beliefs; young people are, indeed, mentally checking out of Christianity long before they head off to college. There is a strong link between unbelief in God's Word and the refusal to attend church. We must do all we can to train them from an early age about the truth of God's Word and how it relates to God's world.
Already Gone also provides several keys for passing the faith on to the next generation. We need to humble ourselves before God and submit to Him. We also must make God's Word a priority in our homes and schools, and teach it as actual history and not just a bunch of "stories." Students need to understand that God's Word is historically accurate and entirely trustworthy.
Another important aspect to passing on the faith is to make sure that the things young people watch, read, and listen to are God-honoring. While there are many books on the market designed for Christians, very few do a good job of promoting the biblical worldview. I have recently co-authored a fiction series designed to do just that.
Since many people are reluctant to read non-fiction books, the goal was to write an entertaining action/adventure series that incorporated nearly twenty of the issues covered in The New Answers Book series, and to include other aspects of the biblical worldview that young people need to learn about, such as witnessing, purity, death and suffering, honesty, and many more.
This exciting new series, The Truth Chronicles, follows four teenagers from America's top science academy (Jax, JT, Isaiah, and Micky) in their adventures through time. Along the way, JT defends the biblical worldview and witnesses to her friends, helping them see that the Bible makes better sense of our world than the religion of evolution.
Beautifully illustrated in the popular manga style, these stories include a fun mix of engaging characters, dinosaurs, time travel, international intrigue, and much more. Readers will find the answers to many of the most-asked questions of the Christian faith, and will see that the Bible can be trusted from the very first verse.
These books are just some of the many tools you can use to reach and teach young people to help prevent them from being already gone. Defending the faith has never been so much fun.