I was reading the August edition of Tabletalk, and I enjoyed the interview with Ravi Zacharias. Two years ago, my husband and daughter and I went to hear him speak. He is such an articulate speaker.
Zacharias was asked the question, "How do we equip young people to remain committed to Christ in a secular and non-Christian world?"
The Bible reminds us to guard our doctrine and our conduct. Our youth know firsthand what the world has to offer. They need to be reached at a younger age because of the world of the Internet that ravages young minds sooner than ever before. Building their faith is not a prime strength in our churches today. We seem to think that we need to entertain them into the church. But what you win them with is often what you win them to.
They can see through a hollow faith in a hurry. Their minds are hungry for coherence and meaning. They long to think things through. They long to know why the gospel is both true and exclusive. None of these issues are often addressed within their own reach. I believe this is the most serious crisis of our church-going youth today. Their faith is more a longing than a fulfillment. We have a special burden for the youth. We will keep at it a we try to reach them. It's a tough world for the young.
Our daughter has been home for a couple of days. I shared this with her, and she agreed very much with the sentiment Zacharias expressed, that young people want to know why the gospel is important, and they want to think things through. Her comment to me, reminiscing about her youth group days was that she often felt frustrated because she didn't know why the gospel was important other than to get someone saved. Beyond getting that "decision" she didn't know why it was important. When it came to living out her Christian life, she said some guidelines seemed arbitrary and more designed to promote a culture rather than a set of core beliefs. She has only recently found a way to describe what she felt so frustrated with as a teenager.
More than ever, I believe we need to get away from a youth ministry whose primary motive is to get the numbers in and entertain on a grand scale. They need to know why the gospel is important. They need to understand how to connect it to everyday circumstances. They need to be helped as they attempt to think things through.