There is little doubt that western culture as our students are experiencing is frightening. But every time I give this talk, I have an incredible sense of hope. They hang on every word and the conversation continues long after I step off the stage.
During my days as a teacher—in my little corner of the world, inside the four walls of my classroom, my students were good kids. They liked Jesus. They went to church and participated in youth group. They loved and respected their parents. And let’s be honest. They, of course, loved their Bible classes with me. I have no doubt—even today—that most of that is true. But what I neglected to realize was eventually they would have to leave the comfort of their homes, classrooms, and neighborhoods.
As older generations, it is easy to see our youth as less than what we were. Focussing on the negative comes almost natural. But, it is these students who are entering the workforce, impacting the economy, the future pastors our churches, and charting the course for Christianity’s future—taking what we hand off to them and moving it forward. It is our job to be sure we are handing off a faith that reflects Christ, a mission that is focused on the gospel, and wisdom that can only come from God.
The western world is officially post-Christian—actively rejecting Jesus and the gospel. This is forcing churches to face some new challenges. Nowhere is this challenge more important in Christendom than in our youth groups and families.
I think it is safe to say that every student has deeply important questions that stem from seasons of doubt. But sadly, many who have questions within the church are all too often glazed over with superficial answers and judgmental eyes. Consequently, students are left with one of two thoughts. Either something is wrong with them, or something is wrong with Christianity.