Do you ever wonder why many teens turn away from their faith during adolescence?
Some would say it’s just a normal stage of life, but I don’t buy it. I know too many youth who are passionate about God and the purpose he has for their lives. So why do others lose interest?
Feeling that the church makes no effort to understand them is one possible reason.
Kids won’t necessarily conform to our traditions and styles of doing things just because we say they should. But if we make an effort to get into their world, we become sensitive to their needs and aware of their questions, hurts, challenges, and temptations. We begin to speak their language, understand their music, meet them where they are and adapt ourselves to motivate and teach them effectively.
Sometimes the only effort we seem to make to reach our youth involves preaching against the dangers of sin. They do struggle with temptation; it’s true. We can, and we should, teach them to avoid drugs, alcohol, and promiscuous sexual behavior. We could spend all of our time teaching our youth what not to do. But it is much more powerful to teach them what to do.
What if we focused on finding ways to help them to want to get to know God? What if we taught them the truth…that God loves them and has awesome things in store for them?
What if we painted them a vivid picture of how fulfilling and rewarding life is when you live all-out for God? What if they discovered great self-worth in what the Bible says about them instead of comparing themselves to the unachievable (and fake) perfection found in movies and magazines?
What if our kids could see all of us living exciting, adventure-filled lives all-out-for-God? I call this kind of life a Spirit Contemporary life, and I’ll tell you what would happen. Our kids would be saying, “I want what you have!” I see it all the time, and I can tell you that there’s nothing more moving than watching hundreds of youth jumping and praising God together to the sound (and smoke and lights) of a live band.
Kids don’t need more judgment or more rules. They need to know that we believe in them, and that we’re cheering them on to do great things—that we expect them to be better and to reach higher than we ever have.
Never give up on the next generation. With a little guidance and encouragement, they can accomplish incredible things. If we take the time to get into their world, if we expect great things from them and we help equip them to live up to the incredible potential God has placed within each one, they will never cease to amaze us.
Adapted from The Spirit Contemporary Life: Unleashing the Miraculous in Your Everyday World by Leon Fontaine. Get your copy today!
It’s your turn! Comment below to let us know if you’ve noticed any other reasons why youth might lose interest in God and/or church? And what can we do to change it?