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Today’s Youth and Assurance

I was talking to my best friend yesterday.  It was a refreshing talk to see what is going on back home, what is going on here, and anything else stupid that we can talk about.  While talking, we discussed the issue of doubt among teenagers.  Jacob told me that at their church (FBC Monterey, TN) they passed out among the teenagers an anonymous survey about whether or not each of the students was sure of their salvation.  When they returned, only five surveys were sure of their salvation.  Of these five, I believe three of them were the adults.  I don’t know how many students were there, but based on what I know of FBC, there were probably 20+ there.  Jacob and I then discussed how sad of a reality this is.

So why?  Why do we have students who don’t just have doubts, but they can’t provide assurance of their salvation?  I’m not condemning this, as I remember when I was about eleven years old, waking up with tears in my eyes and walking down the hallway of my house to be found by my mother asking me what was wrong.  She then talked to me and gave me assurance.  We all battle doubt.  But, there’s a difference in my mind between doubt, and just being ignorant of what is going on with one’s faith.

So who is to blame?  Is it the student?  Is it the parent?  Is it the church?  I guess it’s a bit of all three.

Why are there so many Christians who are ignorant of their faith?  Why do we have atheists and people of other religions who have a better knowledge of Christianity than a lot of the people who sit in our pews?  

I’ve dealt with the issue before – today’s generation of students is widely apathetic.  There are so many other things going on in student’s lives that why should they spend time with church, God and the like?  Sporting events have moved to Sundays.  Homework dominates students through the week.  Or, they just haven’t been raised to respect God and the church…(we’ll get there in a minute…)  Does the blame fall on them?  Well, yes and no.  I seem to think that a 7th grade kid and older can make the decision to come to church and find a way there if they want to.  If they don’t care about it, then it’s on them.  But, I don’t think this is the root of the problem.

Here were have a bit more of a problem.  We have parents who don’t have a respect and reverence for church and God.  How many students do you know whose parents are faithful to the church?  And…how do their kids respond to this?  In my experience – those students who have parents who are faithful to the church and involved…their kids follow suit.  Those who are hit and miss – their kids follow suit.  Students watch their parents.  They learn habits from their parents.  Is this the root?  Closer, but still I think there’s one more.

Unfortunately, I believe we’ve missed it in the church.  Why do the parents not have a reverence for God?  Well, part of it is because they don’t care.  Not all cases fall into the “it’s the church’s fault” category with me.  But, partly to blame, I’d have to say the church.  I remember sitting in Acts and Paul class in college and hearing a basic survey of Acts of one of Paul’s other books.  As I listened, I began to think how basic and simple it was what I was learning.  For a moment, I felt hurt that I never learned these basic truths in church growing up.  I was so used to hearing the story of David and Goliath or Noah and the Ark the same way for eighteen years, and in the middle of all of that, I felt like I had been jipped at a chance to learn more about other things in the Bible and have a greater love and respect for God.  

So who is to blame?  Well, it’s a bit of everyone.  The truth is, I don’t believe most churches have discipleship set up properly in their church.  In fact, I don’t believe that in my youth ministry I have it set up properly.  I am still working and striving to find those things that show students what it is to be a Christian and then help them develop and keep a relationship with Christ.  It is no easy task at all.  But, I feel like we have erred in many ways.  

Why do some students doubt?  I just feel like we haven’t taught them enough.  They haven’t been shown the proof of the pudding.  They just come to church as a social institution and sometimes we allow it to be just that.  We, as a church are cheating them.  Their parents, as spiritual leaders, are cheating them sometimes too.  They, as free willed humans, are cheating themselves.  

So, what do we do?  Thoughts? 

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