Nothing prepares you to hear your wife say the words “something’s wrong.” Her voice on the phone was strained and almost frantic. I immediately agreed to meet her at the doctor’s office and hurried to tell my boss that I was taking an early lunch. My thoughts raced during the short drive as a rock formed in the pit of my stomach.
When I was in college and grad school, people would often ask what I wanted to do with my Bible degree. At the time, I would tell them, “Youth pastor.” They would normally then ask, “Interesting. So why do you think we’re losing the next generation?” It’s a common question—one that I’ve given a fair amount of thought to. It’s a personal question—I have names and faces of people who grew up in the same Christian environment I did who have taken very different paths. And it’s a critical question: Why are we losing the future of Christianity?
In all my time pondering this question, I have come up with what, in my mind, are two primary reasons we are losing the next generation. There are no doubt other factors, and I might be overstating my case, but I want to take a minute and share with you why I think I see why my friends leaving Christianity.
Christians have idols that we love to hate, at least superficially, like materialism or pride. For some reason these are the idols that are the ones that typically get the “amens” and “that’ll preach” comments when the pastor serves up a message about them. But for some reason, there are certain idols that we just love to love. Were the pastor to preach on an inordinate love of conservative politics, or the American dream, or the nuclear family I’d venture a guess that we wouldn’t hear as many “amens” during that sermon. Yet, even the good and well-intentioned things that we do as Christ-followers can become idols if we allow them become so prominent that Christ loses His preeminence in our lives.
Dear Parents of Teenagers,
Thank you for all you do to invest in the life of your teenager(s). You probably feel like you are constantly juggling multiple hats. You are the taxi driver (ready to pick them up/drop them off at whatever they need to be at), coach (helping them perfect that jump shot or throw that strike), personal tutor (working with them to finally get that math concept down), guidance counselor (preparing them to have future success) and, sometimes, motivational speaker (just trying to get them to get up and do something). You are all these and so much more!
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