Recently, June, July and August, while contemplating the results of studies that many churches and other groups have made, I learned that those in their 20’s, the era of my own children, are missing from the Church at a very large scale, and, I began thinking about the three young men whose funeral I preached in the summer of 2007, three friends of my children, their classmates from families who were friends and acquaintances (the boys were born in 1984).
That age group, those young people are leaving a huge gap in the church. It is that way in every denomination and church group including the house church. In 20, 30 and 40 years, where will that leave the church?
One of the lessons I have learned over the years is that most young people when they head off to college lose their faith if they had any at all. Ten or fifteen years ago, it was from 90 to 120 days (the better part of a semester), but up-to-date statistics are showing that most college students lose their faith within the first month of college. 30 days of college and they give up their faith. That is almost immediate. Why is it that this group either loses their faith quickly or doesn’t come to faith at all?
What are we the church doing wrong or not doing that repels them? You realize it’s mostly their reaction to the church that repels them. What are they reacting too?
One aspect of this is that the church has not prepared these young people in such a way that they understand their faith when the humanistic/atheistic/evolutionary teachings of science, the humanities, and social realities are taught. My daughter experienced this type of teaching and the bias against Christianity at college. It’s in every secular school. As a friend of mine says, “They call them liberal arts schools for a reason.” We, I have to include myself, have not done a very good job of discipling them.
Another aspect is this: those young people who have not grown up as Christians in the church. They see the church as biased against women, failing to carry out social justice, such as in race issues, and are graceless and unforgiving and judgmental. Who would want that?
They are searching. There is no doubt about it, they’re thirsty for something or someone. Why are they not thirsty for Jesus? Why do they seek to quench their spiritual thirstiness in other ways?
I worked for Coca-Cola for about 7 ½ years and summer was the “busy season.” People drink Coke year round, but May to September had high sales, especially around the lake area of northern Oklahoma where my routes were. I used to take a 2-gallon drink cooler on the route with me. I usually drank 2-gallons of ice water plus several sodas every day during the summer. That’s a lot of liquid. That’s a lot of sweating (which I am gifted at).
One of the things about soda-pop is that though it may quench thirst for an instant, in the long run it makes you thirsty again. You want to drink more and more because your thirst actually increases. You never feel your thirst is quenched and you drink up so much sugar and so much carbonation it could be dangerous.
I am not a beer drinker and never have been but I have seen the news and health reports that warn beer drinkers to be careful in the summer. They can be out in the sun all day and drink several beers, thinking and maybe even feeling as if they are getting plenty of liquid nourishment and refreshment, but in the long run, they will be dehydrated. I don’t remember why, but they will be dehydrated. Dehydration is dangerous, especially in the heat,
Beer and soda may be tasty to a lot of people, but quenching thirst, and hydrating the body doesn’t happen with beer and soda. There are nourishing drinks, water, vitamin waters, electrolyte enhanced drinks like Gatorade and Power Aid that benefit a person. They quench thirst and they give needed nourishment and keep you hydrated.
So many people from every generation attempt to quench this spiritual thirst in ways that will not bring lasting satisfaction when there is one source that will quench their spiritual thirst now and forever. “He who believes in me shall never thirst” (Jesus in John 6:35b).
Jesus met a woman one day as he travelled through Samaria . . . to be continued . . .