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Secularization and the Death of our Youth

I just read some statistics revealed in a recent book by Ken Ham entitled, Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it. Ham worked with a professional pollster to survey those who went to church every week or nearly every week and they deliberately polled conservative, Bible-believing congregations. Here are some of the disturbing findings:

  • A mass exodus is underway. Most youth of today will not be coming to church tomorrow. Nationwide polls and denominational reports are showing that the next generation is calling it quits on the traditional church. And it’s not just happening on the nominal fringe; it’s happening at the core of the faith.
  • Only 11 percent of those who have left the Church did so during the college years. Almost 90 percent of them were lost in middle school and high school. By the time they got to college they were already gone! About 40 percent are leaving the Church during elementary and middle school years!
  • If you look around in your church today, two-thirds of those who are sitting among us have already left in their hearts; it will only take a couple years before their bodies are absent as well.
  • The numbers indicate that Sunday school actually didn’t do anything to help them develop a Christian worldview…The brutal conclusion is that, on the whole, the Sunday school programs of today are statistical failures.
  • Part of the concern is that the mere existence of youth ministry and Sunday school allows parents to shrug off their responsibility as the primary teachers, mentors, and pastors to their family.

I believe one of the major reasons for the tragic fallout is the rapid secularization of our popular culture. Christian educator, Arthur Holmes, writes, “The fact is that Western Civilization has become thoroughly secularized; Christianity is regarded as largely irrelevant to culture and science and learning, reduced to a private and inward affair.”

When our teens see no connection between what we talk about on Sunday morning and the world in which they live the rest of the week, it leaves our Christianity in the category of “irrelevant.” When we leave no room for the supernatural move of the Holy Spirit to touch hearts and lives, it sends the message that our Christianity is “impotent.”

When we combine an experience that is both irrelevant to real life and impotent to address impossible situations and challenges of life,  we leave our teens scratching their heads and asking, “So why am I here?”

We must be able to articulate the superiority of our Christian worldview as the best explanation of reality and we must boldly demonstrate the power of God by ministering the good news of the Kingdom. Fire and light is the only remedy for a secularized culture.

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