I would like to start this post with some choice swear words, but I am a pastor and I don’t do that, unless my wife is around to scold me. I have just read a piece that has convicted me and I have to repent to you for doing ministry in an artificial way and I must stop it.
I don’t know who Marc is or where he is at but he has written a post on why young adults have left the church and where the church went wrong. These things must be understood and changed. Read the whole article here. Below are some choice quotes and his reasons that youth leave the church.
“There’s no easy way to say this: The American Evangelical church has lost, is losing, and will almost certainly continue to lose OUR YOUTH.
“For all the talk of “our greatest resource”, “our treasure”, and the multi-million dollar Dave and Buster’s/Starbucks knockoffs we build and fill with black walls and wailing rock bands… the church has failed them…”
The top ten reasons the church has lost young people:
“10. The Church is “Relevant”: Our kids meet the real world and our “look, we’re cool like you” posing is mocked. In our effort to be “like them” we’ve become less of who we actually are. The middle-aged pastor trying to look like his 20-something audience isn’t relevant. Dress him up in skinny jeans and hand him a latte, it doesn’t matter. It’s not relevant, It’s comically cliché. The minute you aim to be “authentic”, you’re no longer authentic!”
“9. They never attended church to begin with: many evangelical youth have been coddled in a not-quite-church, but not-quite-world hothouse. They’ve never sat on a pew between a set of new parents with a fussy baby and a senior citizen on an oxygen tank. They don’t see the full timeline of the gospel for every season of life.”
“8. They get smart: It’s not that our students “got smarter” when they left home, rather someone actually treated them as intelligent.”
“7. You sent them out unarmed: Yes, I know your church has a “What we believe” page, but is that actually being taught and reinforced from the pulpit?”
“6. You gave them hand-me-downs: You’ve tried your best to pass along the internal/subjective faith that you “feel”. You really, really, really want them to “feel” it too. But we’ve never been called to evangelize our feelings.”
“5. Community: When our kids leave home, they leave the manufactured community they’ve lived in for nearly their entire life. With their faith as something they “do” in community, they soon find that they can experience this “life change” and “life improvement” in “community” in many different contexts.”
“4. They found better feelings: Rather than an external, objective, historical faith, we’ve given our youth an internal, subjective faith.”
“3. They got tired of pretending: Kids who are fed a stead diet of sermons aimed at removing anything (or anyone) who doesn’t pragmatically serve “God’s great plan for your life” has forced them to smile and, as the old song encouraged them be “hap-hap-happy all the time”.”
“2. They know the truth: They can’t do it. They know it. All that “be nice” moralism they’ve been taught? The bible has a word for it: Law.”
“1. They don’t need it: If church is simply a place to learn life-application principles to achieve a better life in community… you don’t need a crucified Jesus for that. Why would they get up early on a Sunday and watch a cheap knockoff of the entertainment venue they went to the night before? The middle-aged pastor trying desperately to be “relevant” to them would be a comical cliché if the effect weren’t so devastating. As we jettisoned the gospel, our students are never hit with the full impact of the law, their sin before God, and their desperate need for the atoning work of Christ. Now THAT is relevant, THAT is authentic, and THAT is something the world cannot offer.”
What should our response be? Open repentance and realignment to the gospel. This may seem harsh but is it what we should do? We convince ourselves that we are not described here but we are…
HT: Scott Sauls