Young people today are not looking for history. They are searching for mystery. They are not hungry for another extracurricular activity. They are starving for meaning.
In "Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church" Kendra Creasy Dean writes: We are doing an exceedingly good job of teaching youth what we really believe: namely, that Christianity is not a big deal, that God requires little, and that the church is a helpful social institution filled with nice people focused primarily on ‘folks like us’ – which, of course, begs the question of whether we are really the church at all. Teenagers tend to approach religious participation, like music and sports, as an extracurricular activity: a good, well-rounded thing to do, but unnecessary for an integrated life. What we have been less able to convey to young people is faith."
We haven’t conveyed faith? Woah! Isn’t that at least a part of why we were here? Why we put all the energy and effort into children, youth and family programs over the last fifty years? Why we built the education wing, hired the youth staff, set up all the slick programs?
Thirty-five years ago, a brilliant and prophetic John H. Westerhoff, III hit the nail on its head in his groundbreaking, unheaded, classic, “Will Our Children Have Faith?”:
"The challenge facing the church is in the bland, unconverted, ignorant lives of its members. Until adults in the church are knowledgeable in their faith, have experienced the transforming power of the Gospel, live radical lives characteristic of the disciples of Jesus Christ, no new curriculum, no new teacher-training programs, and no new educational technology will save."
We wonder why the kids don’t come back?
The Bride of Christ has lost both interest in and passion for her husband. And the children don’t want to come home to such a sad and sorry empty house. They won’t. They can’t.
We saw to it.
They saw through it.
And it’s time to undo it.