Lately I’ve been burdened to reach young people. I recently read that 6 in 10 young people will leave the church permanently or for an extended period starting at age 15. It’s a proven fact that today’s young adults are marrying later, if at all, are technologically savvy, and hold worldviews alien to their upbringing. Perhaps this explains the popularity of the YouTube clip: Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus? The clip was created by 22-year-old Jefferson Bethke. Bethke uploaded his work early January and the video has been viewed over 16 million times! The theme of the video revolves around the difference between Jesus and false religion. The first time I watched it, I loved it and the second time I watched it I had concerns, but the popularity of the clip is telling.
Last week I read some very interesting findings of why young people are leaving the church. The information was based on David Kinnaman’s book You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith. Kinnaman has discovered six reasons young people leave church:
I don’t have all the answers and that frustrates me, but if we want to reach the “next generation” it must include spending time, building relationships and meeting them on their turf. In the midst of my endeavor, I want to avoid the extremes. On the one hand I don’t want to ignore the situation, hoping they will “come around” when they are older and have their own children. Nor do I want to exclude older members by focusing so much on teens and young adults. I’m intentional about building River of Life on the pursuit of God rather than the preferences of young people.
All that said, at the end of the day I find myself going to God in prayer, asking Him to guide me. I find myself asking the Holy Spirit, who is my teacher and counselor and guide, to give me boldness to “walk across the room” and begin building relationships with young folk who God places in my path.
On the Victory Side,