American Youth: The New Mission Field

Posted: November 8, 2006 in church, missions, service, youth

This passed weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a youth seminar by Group called Re-ignite. It was a great time to get re-energized and to be reminded of how much this generation need to know Jesus. According to the National Study of Youth and Religion, 9 out of 10 American young people do not have what social researchers call a devoted faith. Their faith in Christ is not central to their life. They do not know the basics of their faith. They do not see how their relationship with Jesus makes an impact on their everyday life.

What have we done wrong? Why is there such a disconnect between this generation and the older generations? What has gone wrong?
According to Battle Cry, this generation of teens is the largest in history and current trends show that only 4% will be believers by the time they become adults. Compare this with 34% of adults today who are believers in Christ. Something must be done. Our method must be off. We have built youth ministry around a big event and big personalities. The problem is that our big events cannot compete with the other big events in life. Thepersonalities we build our programs around do not always stack up. We have focused on men and not on Jesus. We have left Jesus out of ministry. When Jesus is left out, our teaching becomes irrelevant. When asked to describe Jesus, teens described him as “nice.” The problem is that we do not teach the real Jesus. A Jesus who is simply nice is not strong enough to walk with teens into the difficult stuff of everyday life. At the Re-ignite workshop, we focused on three questions that are very relevant for our world today.

1. Who do I say Jesus is?
2. Who does Jesus say that I am?
3. Who do I say that I am?

We have spent the majority of our time talking about issues with teens. We have told them not to have premarital sex, but 1,000,000 teenage girls are pregnant and 8,000 youth develop an STD everyday. We have talked to them about avoiding peer pressure, but 1/3 of all youth have been drunk and 1/4 of all youth have used illegal drugs. One in five teenagers have attempted suicide, while 1,500 hundred a year succeed.

Maybe we should spend more time teaching about the real Jesus. If nine out of ten youth do not see how their relationship with Jesus impacts their daily life, maybe we are not teaching the real Jesus. The questions are real. The trials are real. The struggle is real. It’s time for youth to be able to see the real Jesus.

  1. Anonymous says:

    congrats on the court date! i would loved to have gone to that Reignite conf. Sounds really good. What church are you guys at right now?

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