As a former youth pastor, it pains me when I hear about young people who appeared so strong in faith as young people, yet when they venture off to college, move out of their homes, finish high school, or join the military, don’t participate in church life as they did earlier in life.
The Gospel Coalition posted an article by Jon Nielson a youth pastor in Wheaton, IL on what we can do to help keep our young people faithful to the Lord. Enjoy!
Why Youth Stay in Church When They Grow Up
“What do we do about our kids?” The group of parents sat together in my office, wiping their eyes. I’m a high school pastor, but for once, they weren’t talking about 16-year-olds drinking and partying. Each had a story to tell about a “good Christian” child, raised in their home and in our church, who had walked away from the faith during the college years. These children had come through our church’s youth program, gone on short-term mission trips, and served in several different ministries during their teenage years. Now they didn’t want anything to do with it anymore. And, somehow, these mothers’ ideas for our church to send college students “care packages” during their freshman year to help them feel connected to the church didn’t strike me as a solution with quite enough depth.
The daunting statistics about churchgoing youth keep rolling in. Panic ensues. What are we doing wrong in our churches? In our youth ministries?
I was praying at the hospital last evening. In my prayer, I caught myself using the word “just” in the language of my prayer. This distracted me. On my drive home, I wondered what the use of this word said about my theology of prayer. Was it a nervous tick? Is it a response to rote-ness? Am I really saying “this is the only thing I was wanting done or petitioning?” Obviously it has caused me to think about prayer, Father’s heart, my heart, and how the three function synergistically.
Interesting how our heavenly Father works. I “just” came across this article on a website that discusses this very idea. You have to love the humor of the Sovereign One. I am reposting it for your reading and ruminating pleasure.
By Trevin Wax on Sep 16, 2011 in Friday Funny
Some lighthearted fun from the Holy Observer today. (This post was written in 2004, and the movie mentioned is The Passion of the Christ.)
God to Intercessors: Just Stop Saying “Just”
Linguistic grace no longer applicable to mutually exclusive prayer requests
For decades, God has lavished his followers with linguistic grace regarding what could be considered an epidemic in the prayer world – the use of the word “just.” Usually found in a pattern similar to “God, please just [insert petition] and just [insert another petition],” the word “just” has made answering prayers a confusing and tedious process for the Almighty. In response, God declared earlier this month that Christians everywhere may no longer use the word “just” during intercessory prayer, effective immediately.
Posted in General
Tagged God, prayer
A new website I came across is called Kingdom People. Titles are a key to catching someone’s attention. So this one caught my eye. Read through and see if there is anything that needs adjusting. It came from this website. Enjoy.
Raising kids that truly love Jesus is hard work. That’s why so many of parents settle for plan B.
What would happen if you were actually trying to raise a pretend believer? Here are some 9 steps you might take.
My point is not to encourage this type of parenting, only to point out where we might be doing it on accident.
1. Look down on others: Psalm One is sound advice, but it’s no permit for raising sanctimonious kids.
2. Practice route prayers: Religious habits can serve children well, but it’s no substitute for knowing God as Father.
3. Confess only acceptable sins: This sets up a safe duality, some sins you talk about and some you keep secret. The end condition kills any hope of real accountability.
4. Crank up the K-love: Our family loves to sing along in the car, but I never want my kids to think Jesus is an entertainment choice. Don’t let your kids confuse music preference for Christian spirituality.
5. Never miss church: Another good habit that can quietly becomes the basis of our assurance.
6. Pray aloud to your Daddy-God: I doubt Jesus has changed his mind about showoffs.
7. Buy the t-shirt(s): They may know us by the t-shirts we wear, but God looks at the heart.
8. In a phrase Prosperity Gospel: Children who want their best life now may miss out of God’s best later.
9. Lead by example: Playing religion comes natural when kids see their parents do the same thing.
Obviously we don’t want you raising fake Christians. I’m afraid this is what’s happening to many kids on accident. My point is to show how so-called christian behavior does not always equal belief in Jesus.
Vigellius Saturninus, the proconsul (Roman administrator) of North Africa in 180 A.D., spoke generously. “You can have the forgiveness of our Lord the Emperor if only you return to your senses,” he said.
Speratus, one of twelve Christians who faced him, replied for the rest. “We have never done evil; we have not lent ourselves to wrong; we have never spoken ill, but when ill-treated we have given thanks, for we pay heed to our Emperor.”
Evidently Saturninus was stung by that reply. “We too are religious, and our religion is simple,” he said defensively. “We swear by the genius of our Lord the Emperor, and pray for his welfare, as you also ought to do.”
Speratus offered to instruct Saturninus in true simplicity of worship, but the proconsul brushed him off and turned to the other offenders. “Abandon this way of thinking,” he commanded.
I wanted to share something that I learned this week. It really impacted me and gave me a greater understanding of why we go through hardships.
Acts 14: 21-22- They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.
How does God lead lead you into a place where He controls more and more areas of your life? Or in other words, where you accept His control over more and more parts of your life? Where you receive His rule over your finances, relationships, thought life, diet, job, ministry, prayer times and so forth? What does it take for these areas of your life to come under His control to enter the His kingdom? What confronts those things in our lives that resist His kingdom, thoses lesser supports, false securities, and selfish ambitions?
The answer is hardships and tribulations.
This is a hard teaching. Because none of us like to go through hard times. Yet it seems to be the way the Lord chooses to keep our eyes fixed on Him, His kingdom and eternity. I send this to you as an encouragement and I pray that it does strengthen your faith. We know that the troubles we face here are light and momentary compared to the glory in eternity that far outweighs any trouble. My prayer for all of us is that we would have an obsession with our focus on Him. That we would seek His face and grow more and more in love with Him every day. Do this in us Jesus! Amen
Guest post: Heidi F., Recent CRBC member moved to Kansas City, MO to work with Lighthouse Network and IHOP.