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Our young people hear about who God is, His amazing promises.. and then contrast those with observable Christians and Churches around them. Because they see a massive inconsistency they run a mile. It's as simple as that. I mean - who wants to be involved in something fake? John 14, 15, and 16 are the most important passages in the entire bible. They clearly show God's redemptive purpose for our lives. The promise of real connection with God, who is a very real person... just like Adam and Eve originally had before they were deceived and fell. Imagine that - God speaking with us, God teaching us, God walking along the street with us, God holding a dialogue with us, God walks into the living room and asks you how your day was... (you get the picture). I'm not talking about a religious belief system here, where people dress up in a suit, go Church on a Sunday, pay their tythes, speak with 'Churchy' catch-phrases, and for the most part tick all the religious boxes. Jesus' promise - if obey His commandments, which generally revolve around truly loving God and people - is He and the Father will come and live in us. We will have direct connection with the Father, just like Jesus had a direct connection with the Father. If we're moving in the promises of John 14, 15, 16 then we speak to, hear from, see, and feel God. In Mathew 5 Jesus talks about various prerequisites for that to happen. For example - "blessed are the pure in heart because they will see God". Today we know them as the Be-attitudes. Stop and think about it for a moment... in the Bible, whenever God turns up amazing things happen. A mountain top is covered in smoke and cloud and people are petrified because of the awesomeness of God, People's legs grow back, a couple of loaves of bread multiply so that thousands of hungry people are fed, the dead are raised, people are overwhelmed with love and turn from doing selfish things. On the flip side of that there's also some instant judgement for those who are ripping off God (think of Annanias and Saphira in Acts). My point is that redeemed Sons and Daughters of God are supposed to know, talk, and walk with the real person of God directly. Know him INTIMATELY. (Jesus said that His sheep will know His voice, and not be deceived by fakes.) If that is true then by definition redeemed Sons and Daughters of God should really STAND OUT... don't you think? There's nothing average, dull, or boring about a people who are living like that... right? Unfortunately most Churches - it doesn't matter which denomination - are pretty darn dull. As we see in Revelation, even in the first generation churches, Jesus had a 'bone' to pick with most of them. Think about it, these guys had the most accurate doctrine available to them - since they dealt directly with the original guys like John, Peter, James, and Paul. And yet they mostly got it wrong (with the exception of the Philadelphian Church who was given a pat on the back by Jesus). CONCLUSION Find me a congregation of people that are truly connected with God - in a real sense and not a fake make-believe sense - as promised in John 14, 15, 16, and I'll show you a place where young people are rushing to get in on an amazing authentic experience of knowing the real person of God.
I am a PhD medical research scientist with 45 years experience and about 100 publications. I am 76 but came to the Lord when 39. I was indoctrinated in evolution at school and university. Even as a new christian I was a theistic evolutionist ie believed in Jesus and evolution. Several years ago I started to question scientifically biological evolution and scientific claims of the bible that we all came from one man and woman (both about 1,000 years old), close relative intermarrying, evidence of a worldwide flood, starlight travel and time etc. My conclusions were 1.evolution is scientifically impossible 2. early humans did live to very old ages and we all came from one man and woman. 3. the world was created about 6,500 years ago 3. all geologic, fossil records confirm a worldwide flood 4,500 years ago 4. starlight travel and time is biblically and scientifically consistent. The take home message is that the bible is absolute truth and means what it says and says what it means. Secondly, if you don't believe the first sentence of the bible ("In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth") then why believe the rest of it eg redemption and salvation. Our young folk are swamped with evolution thinking/naturalism/materialism at school and in the media as fact. No wonder they, like me, walk away from God, completely confused. Science, especially historical science, is not infallible but God's word is. God's word, which is truth, therefore should never be compromised. There is a serious eternal price to pay for doing so.
Many may be the reasons, but I think (as someone who left the faith as a young person, and am just now a new believer) that the main reason is that young people can smell/ see a "poser" from a mile away. And to me there is nothing more lame than someone who is a fake. I am not trying to be a judge, but if we were to "keep it real" we would have to admit that a large portion of so-called Christians are claiming Godliness but denying the power there of. Think about it, we tell our kids that there is peace that passes all understanding in knowing the Lord, yet we are anything but at peace. We tell them that there is super natural power at work in the believers, yet they never see a miracle happen. Jesus says that it is by the love that we have for each other that the world will know we are His disciples, yet we are constantly criticizing, back-biting, gossiping, etc...... We cannot manufacture true love. We cannot "sell" something we don't have! Revival and reformation starts with us and our personal walk. When that becomes REAL, when Jesus Christ is truly abiding in us and we in Him, when we actually BELIEVE that we are son's and daughters of the Most High, that our sins are forgiven and that we COMPLETE in Him, AND WE START ACTUALLY LIVING THIS WAY, serving Him in word & deed...... then watch out! The true gospel will be made known and each person will be given a fair chance to decide for or against God and righteousness, and then our Lord will come! The eternal fate of thousands is being sealed each day and what are we doing to help them make an educated decision? Satan loves the Laodician condition that we are in; thinking that we are righteous, thinking that we see things clearly and have true faith that's tried in the fire. Lord help us, please!
"When there's a fire...you don't need to advertise. People come." There is no such thing as a back-slider. Let's get that straight right out of the gate. There are truly saved believers and false-converts. Period. Those who come to "church", hear an emotional service, get excited over a passionate "worship service" and respond to an altar call are being controlled by a carefully planned service to get desired results. They are not responding to the Holy Spirit. Young people are very impressionable today. Through media, they have become nothing more than cookie-cutter versions of their idols. Sure there are some who are genuinely saved and are broken and surrendered to Christ's work, but for the most part...what I am saying is true, and it's especially true in church. These young people are drawn into church through carnal means and unless the established leadership doesn't keep them satisfied, they will leave. Now leaving the church is not the same as leaving the faith. I left my church because of the carnality that was rampant within. Young people who are attracted to a cool atmosphere are not responding to God but to their own emotions. Once the environment gets old, they will go onto something else. They are not leaving the faith as they were not saved to begin with. (1 John 2.19) Those who are soundly saved, will not leave the faith as they are kept by God's sovereignty. If you are seeing a mass exodus in your church where the young people are getting bored and leaving, then it's your fault. The Gospel you are preaching is not Biblical and the waters you are offering are coming from a superficial source and not from God.
Many young people leave the faith because they allow the cares of this world to suck the life of christ away from them mostly by peer pressure.
Very often they have not been given proper foundations. When pastors teach that God used evolution to create us it sets up an opposing worldview to a Biblical one. Evolution demands death to make progress; evolution is still 'in progress'; evolution says that we are simply advanced animals; evolution allows relative morality etc etc. The Bible teaches that death came as a result of sin; the Bible tells us that God made everything good and perfect at the beginning; God's Word tells us God set the standards for behaviour and humans are made in the image of God. When young people are taught a compromise position, they are not left with strong foundations to resist the arguments of an atheistic worldview. It is a great shame that many well-known seminaries are guilty of teaching evolution - cosmic and biological - with tragic consequences. Those who are teachers will one day have to give an account of themselves to God - especially for the stumbling blocks they have put in the way of their young people.
Young or old, people have to want to continue to learn about "Thus says the LORD". Most know some things, but satisfying the flesh "feels" easier to them. I've watched people who've been so called Christians for 30-40+ years and they still do/practice things that are not in accordance with the Word of GOD. I was brought up in a Christian household, in the church, Sunday and bible school, junior auxiliary, etc. Still the flesh was weak. But just like the Bible says in Proverbs 22:6, I got older and am a born again Christian - Hallelujah! Thessalonians 1:5 speaks of the gospel coming to you not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost. It is a super natural occurrence to those who receive It. Another of many reasons is "presentation". If the Word of God was presented to the people as much as any commercial, television show, movie, etc., our children and adults alike would get it. When there is an event at church without food, the attendance is lower than when the people are told they're going to eat a long list of enticing food. If you put a banana split and a bowl of spinach in front of someone, guess what they'll choose most of the time? The Bible is alive and over flowing with so many wonderful truths. But the only way to know about It is if you read, come to church or someone talks to you about it. The Word of God is the "knowledge above college" but seems to have escaped the majority. Matthew 7:13-15 talks about how many will find and go through a broad gate that leads to destruction and only a few will find and enter the narrow and straight gate that leads to everlasting life. It also warns us to watch out for false prophets of whom It seems attract people far more than the real thing. The enemy of this world (the devil) wants to kill, steal and destroy as many as possible (See John 10:10). We as Christians have to continue to support, witness and shine a light on how great our GOD IS and continue to let them know in a positive way that JESUS is the only WAY. Hebrews 4:12 and Acts 4:12. 1 Timothy 4:1-2 says "But the [Holy] Spirit explicitly and unmistakably declares that in later times some will turn away from the faith, paying attention instead to deceitful and seductive spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 [misled] by the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared as with a branding iron [leaving them incapable of ethical functioning]" (AMP)
I believe the number one reason kids leave the church is because parents don't train up a child the way they should go. Just sending them to Sunday school and making them attend youth or young adult programs at church isn't training up your child. The second reason I believe is that the devil goes around deceiving anyone that is involved in church in some form. The third reason I believe people are leaving the church is because we have been blessed so incredibly in our country that we think we don't need God anymore.
Many are not taught the way of salvation by grace early on. So they believe they are saved by works, and know they can not live up to it. So, they give up because they were never saved in the first place. They are taught they are saved by how they live and what they do instead of what Jesus has done for us. So, without the Spirit of God they are not saved. Romans 8:9 I was blessed that I was saved when I was very young, over 70 years ago. My Father was a Baptist minister, and He told me early on I would be expected by people to be perfect, but God did not expect us to be perfect, Just forgiven. I did go off and live in sin for a while, but the Lord chastened me and brought me back. I do not think I have ever doubted my salvation because I was taught it is a free gift from God. Romans 6:23. That we all sin, But the GIFt of God is eternal life. We did the same with our own children, and they all had their own problems, but I knew no matter what, they were going to heaven. As they grew they began to change and learn. Sometimes we do not learn until we make some bad mistakes. Hopefully not ones that will last a life time. All sin has its own reward. We taught them they could not loose their salvation, but they do reap what we sow. They have all turned out pretty well and know that God loves them no matter what. We have to remember God loves our children more than we do, and going to church never saved anybody. Trusting Jesus as our savior saves us forever. We should train up our children right, but also love them at the same time. Our actions as parents speak louder than words. If their mother and father love each other and live right, not perfect, but overall, they will usually follow what they know to be right. The important thing is to ground them in the word of God so that they know they are always forgiven for all sin, and they have eternal life, based on what Jesus did for us, not on what we do or do not do. Our works. To many times parents put to many burdens on their children expecting them to be perfect. But we have to remember how we were when we were their age. You can tell a teenager, but you can't tell them much because they already think they know it all. So all we can do is pray and hope they will not be lead astray by false teachers and that they will not make so big a mess of their lives they can never recover. Some sins have life consequences. But what is done is done, and we teach them to go on from where they are. They may fall away from the faith for a while, and may never come back, but we know we will see them in heaven if they have trusted Jesus as their savior early on.
The absence or decline of young churchgoers directly reflects their parents' and friends avoidance of an organized worship service, or adhering to a kind of community expectation or rite. Church association had long been associated with an extension of a family whose identity in the community was both qualified and validated based upon an association and activity in a church membership. It demonstrated devotion and humility toward beliefs and duty for purposes beyond ourselves and recognizing our place and roles under God, country and community. The decline of traditional church attendance, membership or association stems from a combination of factors that have gradually eroded traditional church membership, and as a result set in motion an era of lostness and disconnection. The disconnect experienced by more and more people whose youthfulness grew to adulthood where isolation and insulation are implications of electronic gadgets, e-social communities devoid of direct human contact, gestures and comments too fleeting to engage or empathize. More people live alone, move far from home bases, and without family or emotionally supportive units. Fewer occasions arise beyond the handheld device that brings people physically together. As such, the spiritual and emotional ties are lost if ever achieved, and people become fearful, uncomfortable and project rejection and disappointment of a welcoming, truly accepting and supportive church. Churches are largely to blame after engaging so in political and social disagreements that they forgot their true purpose. Divisions by denominations in response to socio-political declarations and prohibitions painted religion with the perceived dark brush of discrimination, intolerance and callousness that mirrors the emerging picture of this era. The church, a simple but powerfully consoling and assuring place where we're fixed on God, Jesus, like love, healing, forgiveness, acceptance, purely good thoughts, intentions and prayer, may emerge as necessary for our personal, emotional and, of course our spiritual enrichment and security. The pendulum may swing back to a more correct position but not until people tire of the disconnect, become weakened by a lack of nurturing and support elsewhere, and have no place else to go.
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