“If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin”. 1 John 1:6-7
Tell me if you have not heard one of the following lines from a friend, a family member, or a stranger passing by: “I’m too busy to go to church”, “Christians don’t practice what they preach”, or my favorite, “I can watch it on the internet or television, so there is no real need for me to go to a church, because church is just a building and everyone knows that the building does not save you!” These are some of the common excuses people use to explain why they no longer go to church. As time went on, each generation believed less and less, until today we have a generation of young adults who believe less in God than their parents’ or grandparents’ generation combined! How did these changes in belief in God come about? Why is it affecting the young adults the most, and how are churches fighting back to get young people back in church, and have them serve and lead in the church as well?
The number one reason as to why young people drop out of church society is because of bad experiences. For example, Zena, which means life and Zeus (not her real name), have Roman Catholic parents who used to take her to church when she was a child. However, for no reason at all, her parents stopped taking her to church, but continued going to church themselves. The result was that she did go to church or care for anything concerning religion. However, about three –five years ago, she had a serious illness and she was hospitalized in the ICU. While she was in the hospital, she awakens to a nun praying over her. She asked the nun, “How did she know that I was a Roman Catholic?” She said, “I not know that you were a Catholic, but since the hospital is Catholic, it allows both priests and nuns to pray over patients in hopes they will get better”. The nun then asked her, “What parish do you go to”, to which she replied, “I don’t go to church”! The nun was shocked, and replied by saying, “What are you going to do when you end up in hell”! She looked up at the nun and said, “Lady all I am trying to do is get better and get out of this hospital safe and sound!” Some of you reading this might think that this was her moment to come to God and get saved, but she threw it away! It has been three years since Zena’s encounter with the nun, and she still does not go to church till this day!
Fake Christians use many tactics to drive young adult believers away from church and another way they do that is bullying! This is the case for Xania, which means new house (not her real name). Imagine going to church as a young child. You want to learn more about God and his son Jesus, and you think that the adults and your peers in church would not only support you, but also answer any questions that you may ask. However, to your dismay, instead of praise and support from your peers and elders of the church, you get picked on! The people that go on and on about why the young children (in this case) and young adults don’t come to church to get saved and get to know Jesus are the main ones belittling you for wanting to get to know him more!
Xania found it heard at first to go back to church after she had endured such a hard time. Even though she is in her 20s and has not gone back to church officially, she is looking for a church home in the DC area, which is a big step for her. When asked why she is going back to church, she said, “Because I know that I need God in my life and church with a congregating of other young Christians that can help me to build up my faith!”
Before you come to the conclusion that church is not worth your time and effort or that there are very few or no young adults in the church, let me introduce you to some young adults who are not only in the church, but are having the time of their lives serving God! I know what a surprise that they’re our churches out there that actually got it right when it comes to young adults!
Shiloh Baptist church in Washington, DC is one of many churches that are facing this problem with young adults. I got a chance to speak with their youth pastor Reverend Bowen to see how they his church is fighting against the wilds of the world in order to bring young people back to church.
I asked Pastor Bowen, “Why do you think young people are not going to church as much as previous generations”? Pastor Bowen’s answered, “They don’t see how they can use church in their lives. I believe that two things happened in which causes young people today not to want to go to church: 1) they have friends that don’t go and 2) they have the options to do other things on a Sunday.” I asked him, “What things do young people have an option of doing on Sunday other than Church?” He replied, “Many schools and activities programs hold events on Sunday. So if a student wants to play in a game or participate in an event, they will decide that the event or game is more important than God and attend the event or game. This happens because the choice was place in front of them. Whereas, when I was coming up we did not have the choice, because we did not hold an events or games on Sunday, because it was the Sabbath”.
I went on to asked Pastor Bowen, “Do you think that young people take Christ and his message seriously anymore”? He replied, “I feel and see that young people don’t take the adults who claim to be seasoned Christians seriously anymore not God.” I went on to ask, “Can the church really help young people today with the problems that they are facing or have the church become incapable of stepping up and handling their problems because they are too stuck in their traditions?” He said, “Yes, it still can help the young people with the social pressures and problems they are facing in the world. In order to do this we as the church have to be honest with ourselves and see what your generation is facing in today’s world. We also have to the patience to answer and support the young people through their questions about God, religion, and through their struggles as well.” I went further, asking, “What are your plans to bring young people back to church?” He said, “Fellowship in the church is one way I plan to bring young people back to church. The reason why fellowship is important is because it puts us in touch with people. As Christian it is important for us to be in fellowship with each other because when we go through a crisis we know that their people we can call to pray for us and with us and to give us words of encouragement. It is doing these things that not only makes as stronger as a Christina community, but also allows us to show God’s love toward each other.” The last question I had for the pastor was this, “What advice would you give young people in search of something rather it be spiritual or the answers to life questions?” He replied, “I would encourage the young people today to have a personal relationship with God, to read scriptures, to get to know God, and speak his language. I would tell them to do all of this for it is necessary if they want to build a closer relationship with God!”
In essence, if the church wants to get my generation out of the street and into the church, it needs to be more patient and open minded, leave its judgments at the door, practice what it preaches and listen to young people. The reason why is because whether they realize it or not, young people do tend to watch “seasoned Christians” to see if they use their own methods when it comes to a crisis. Do you go to God or do you do it your way? Do you practice the same philosophies you teach us or do you use something different? These are all questions young people take into consideration when they look to church and God. Maybe these are some of the things the church should take into consideration, for once they do they can reach a lot more young people then they are now.
Reported by Nadia Johnson
W.O.W Radio Blogger/Reporter
Check out my site: http://loislane5496.simplesite.com