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j0289346Two great posts appeared recently examining why young people leave the Church.

Meg of If this one thing happens asked ‘Does Christianity Really Need a “Re-branding”?’ She doesn’t think it does. Here’s why — excerpts follow; Meg has more (emphases mine):

Over the past few decades we have seen a growing number of non-denominational churches that are heavy on music and the show and light on liturgy and ritual.  We keep seeing the Church trying to be “cool” and trying to meet young people “on their level.”  As a young person, I don’t think it’s working.  That faux-hawk you’re sporting Pastor?  The watered down sermon about a “famous” person who believes in Jesus?  Using out-dated memes in your power point presentation? …

This is something I think many churches need to remind themselves of. When witnessing some of these “cool guy church” antics I’ve found myself feeling patronized, and seen others leave the church for something more “traditional”.  I’m reminded of the parable of the lost sheep, where Jesus asks his followers if one out of their hundred sheep went missing ,wouldn’t they leave all their other sheep to run after the one?  It’s a strong message, and maybe one that many churches are taking to heart in their search for their lost sheep.  My advice?  Leave it to God.  He will find his lost sheep and bring them home.  Don’t push away your 99 sheep and leave them out in the cold, because you may find they will be lost as well.

Another young adult, Marc of Marc5Solas, gave his thoughts in ‘The Top 10 Reasons Our Kids Leave Church’. Here are a few of the reasons — read more at his site:

This isn’t a negative “beat up on the church” post. I love the church, and I want to see American evangelicalism return to the gospel of repentance and faith in christ for the forgiveness of sins; not just as something on our “what we believe” page on our website, but as the core of what we preach from our pulpits to our children, our youth, and our adults …

10. The Church is “Relevant”:

You didn’t misread that, I didn’t say irrelevant, I said RELEVANT. We’ve taken a historic, 2,000 year old faith, dressed it in plaid and skinny jeans and tried to sell it as “cool” to our kids. It’s not cool. It’s not modern. What we’re packaging is a cheap knockoff of the world we’re called to evangelize.

As the quote says, “When the ship is in the ocean, everything’s fine. When the ocean gets into the ship, you’re in trouble.”

I’m not ranting about “worldliness” as some pietistic bogeyman, I’m talking about the fact that we yawn at a 5-minute biblical text, but almost trip over ourselves fawning over a minor celebrity or athlete who makes any vague reference to being a Christian …

8. They get smart:

It’s not that our students “got smarter” when they left home, rather someone actually treated them as intelligent. Rather than dumbing down the message, the agnostics and atheists treat our youth as intelligent and challenge their intellect with “deep thoughts” of question and doubt. Many of these “doubts” have been answered, in great depth, over the centuries of our faith. However …

7. You sent them out unarmed:

Let’s just be honest, most of our churches are sending youth into the world embarrassingly ignorant of our faith. How could we not? We’ve jettisoned catechesis, sold them on “deeds not creeds” and encouraged them to start the quest to find “God’s plan for their life”. Yes, I know your church has a “What we believe” page, but is that actually being taught and reinforced from the pulpit? I’ve met evangelical church leaders (“Pastors”) who didn’t know the difference between justification and sanctification. I’ve met megachurch board members who didn’t understand the atonement. When we chose leaders based upon their ability to draw and lead rather than to accurately teach the faith? Well, we don’t teach the faith. Surprised?

This is what I was driving at in my closing comments yesterday on Simeon. Catechise your children as soon as you can; start gently with simple concepts and prayers between the ages 3 and 4. Build from there. Make sure they know what they believe and why they believe it.

Meg and Mark make excellent points which all pastors and church volunteers would find of interest.

Could it be that our young people are crying out, ‘Gimme that old-time religion’?

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