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Part one: Groundwork »

Lately I have seen more and more speakers and Christian bloggers talking about how the church has failed our youth. Research says more and more of our young people are becoming discouraged or bored with our churches and leaving, with fewer and fewer returning. Many solutions have been thrown about trying to solve this issue, but what does it really come down to? Where is the weak spot? What has broken down?

Unfortunately we are seeing a trend in our Christian groups and discussions to lay the blame at the feet of one individual in the church. The pastor. To be up front, if you don’t know, I am a pastor. This is not an article to defend myself, but to share a few things I have seen that work. I am blessed to work with a great team every week to reach out to the students of our area and have seen more progress than failure. I am also blessed to have the support of so many parents in our church. This is me trying to curb this desire for people to place blame, but to take responsibility instead. When people place blame, it kills the drive to fix the issue. Why bother when it is the fault of somebody else, and obviously hopeless? It is much like the political environment we find ourselves in these days.

It is not as hopeless as some make it out to be!

I have been raised in church all my life. I gave my life to God at a young age and have served Him since. However, like any child raised in the church, I came to an age where I had to examine what I believed and why I believed it. It had to go from my parents faith, to my faith. From something I was told to believe to something I truly did. Most people will point to this time as when a church fails a young adult or succeeds. This is simply the revelation, not the actual success or failure. This happens earlier.

So why write articles to counter the need to blame pastors? I have seen people criticize pastors for trying to be relevant and connect with the teens, and even for wearing trendy clothing or drinking popular coffee brands. My faith in Christ has never hinged on my pastor. My desire to serve God did not result from my pastor being "Superchristian". My devotion to living for God in every area of my life is not because of my pastor being trendy, being cool or uncool or being my best friend. Growing up, my pastor was what he should be. A Godly man who taught me about God, and lead others in doing the same. He taught the gospel. My faith is in the gospel. My desire to serve comes from the gospel. My devotion to live for God comes from the gospel. The only way a pastor can directly fail the youth is if he or she fails to share the gospel. Yet, in a Christian home, the pastor should not be the primary sharer of the gospel, but I will get to that...

Questions leading to quests

Years ago when I was helping at my old youth group, my youth pastor asked me a question that got me on this kick. "Why did you stick around?" At first I didn't quite understand the magnitude of the question, but he wanted to know what contributed to me staying and serving when many others had left or strayed. He asked if it was my parents, my home life, something I saw with my friends or something I learned. At the time I wasn't quite sure because to me, it was many things. I have been working extensively in youth ministry for a long time now, and have seen many factors that go into a student not only learning about God, but truly believing in him and following Him in their lives.

We are the body of Christ, and we all have our own responsibilities to the next generation.

I am seeing more and more churches engage and reach out in ways they never have and are helping countless students. It is not as hopeless as some make it out to be! I want you to be encouraged. I want you to read these articles and walk away with a new perspective. I want you to see that while there is hope, there is still tons of work to do and the next generation needs you. We need to understand that this generation of young adults face things every day that we never dreamed of when we were younger. They are barraged with information and moral values that are far off from anything Godly. As part of their curriculum at school, they are essentially taught that Christianity is false and responsible for more pain in the world than good. They are told more and more about how their faith is wrong and backwards. That they need to grow up and stop believing in an invisible sky wizard. We need to understand that we need to provide more support, more love and more information than ever before.

In what areas must we fail for a young adult to make the choice to walk away from the church and not return? I am going to share what I have observed in a series of articles, but keep in mind it is not a magic formula. It will not always be just these areas, but these are the main areas I have seen over the years either work well and result in a young adult growing in their faith, or work poorly and see them leave. And do not feel like you have no part to play if you are not a parent or on staff at a church. We are the body of Christ, and we all have our own responsibilities to the next generation.


        
  

About Me

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Curt Blanshan / Youth Pastor, Tech, Lover of Bacon

Crazy in love with my wife and best friend, father to a little ball of energy I call my son, and passionate about youth ministry. When I get time, I try to keep up on tech. Oh, and I love bacon.

Comments

  • Anonymous's picture

    Submitted by on February 28th 2013 //

    Looking forward to the rest of these posts. It's a worthy topic to discuss and I'm already agreeing with the flavor you've presented thus far.

    Dave

  • Curt's picture

    Submitted by on February 28th 2013 //

    I am looking forward to writing them! Thanks for asking the good questions to keep me thinking. :)

  • Anonymous's picture

    Submitted by on February 28th 2013 //

    Well said, Pastor Curt.



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