The Top 10 Reasons Our Kids Leave The Church” has been gaining some steam. I’m not going to lie, I completely agree with the writer. The church has been doing some pretty dumb stuff that has caused a generation to walk away. Yet, I’ll be honest, blog posts like these don’t phase me anymore. I’m going to be a prophet here and declare you’ll read another blog post like this within the next six months, and people will go crazy for it. Why am I so confident in this declaration? Because everyone has their opinion on why kids leave the church, the future of the church, or the future of any ministry of the church that needs to be worked on so students will stay. And guess what? For the most part they all say the exact same thing. Do you know what post I never see? What the Church is doing right to cause kids to stay. You would think someone would write stuff like this, but I guess it’s not as sexy. Truth be told, everyone is good at trashing the Church, Christians included. Sometimes I wonder if we believe Paul was joking with us when he wrote, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29). Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t write about issues the Church faces, but when we do, we need to counter it with at least 10 posts that speak about what the Church is doing right. Only talking or writing about what the church does wrong only hurts the gospel, not spreads it. We need to remember people who don’t believe in Christ read this stuff too, and we only affirm their belief about how terrible Christianity is when we write about how the Church fails all the time. So, here are 6 things the Church is doing right to cause students to stay:
- Networking: Never before have we lived in a time where we can connect with each other, and guess what, we are. We’ve learned the importance of networking with other ministers to promote spiritual care, learn about each other’s ministries, and have joint events for students to connect with each other. When we network, students see the Church the way it’s supposed to be working: the body of believers coming together to proclaim Christ!
- Communicating: Because of technology we have the ability to communicate the gospel in ways people would have never imagined 20 years ago. We have an overabundance of books, blogs, websites, and podcast, that allow students to to hear about Jesus Christ and learn how to follow him. We are leveraging all the facets of communication to make sure no one has an excuse not to grow in their faith, and that’s a good thing. Furthermore, churches are developing curriculums and offering them for free on their websites so that any church who can’t afford their own can have quality materials to disciple students. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s some stuff out there that isn’t worth the time of day, but the quality of content that has truly been refined has produced some great fruit!
- Community: We have truly understood how important community is in an individualistic society. The church is doing everything it can to cultivate a culture where everyone believes they are loved and accepted for who they are. Yes, we know many of our students do not have a choice on where they worship, but I know that every youth pastor is doing everything they can to develop a ministry where, if students had choice, they would choose to stay where they’re at.
- Serving: Gone are the days of just throwing money at an issue and believing we did our part. This generation has been told they can make a difference, and they believe it. We understand that, and the church is more active about serving in different ways so others can see Christ. We have become mission-minded and we want to make sure we have met the physical and spiritual needs of an individual.
- Relevance: Now I know the blog post mentioned relevance as a bad thing. And I agree with him, to a point. No 30 year old, 40 year old, or any year old should ever wear skinny jeans period. Yet, I will commend the fact they are willing to do what it takes to reach students. And I dare ask, what have you done lately to do the same? We are aware of the fact there is no “one size fits all” way to share the gospel and develop disciples. We are active about developing new and better ways to stay on top of the current culture so the church isn’t 50 years behind like it has been in the past. Staying relevant and not sacrificing the gospel is what we’re supposed to be doing.
- Declaring God’s word: I will admit, there are churches out there that declare a watered-down gospel that does a true disservice to Jesus Christ. We know this because many of them are on TV; however, those churches are far and few in-between. I truly believe there are far more churches out there that declare the gospel in all its entirety than those who don’t. We know this generation needs something solid to build its foundation on, and I believe we are doing this with a sense of urgency and boldness like never before!