Hello, and welcome to "Weekly Blessings," week 23!
I was reading an article on CNN entitled, "Author: More teens becoming 'fake' Christians." I think the title speaks volumes in itself, but in the article John Blake talked with Kenda Creasy Dean, author of the book "Almost Christian," which discusses the concept of "convenient Christianity" and how it is taking a toll on teen Christians.
Here are just a few lessons I learned from the article; check it out for yourself and let me know what you think!
The study, which included in-depth interviews with at least 3,300 American teenagers between 13 and 17, found that most American teens who called themselves Christian were indifferent and inarticulate about their faith....Many teenagers thought that God simply wanted them to feel good and do good -- what the study's researchers called "moralistic therapeutic deism."
If you think about it, Dean actually has a point. Nowadays, the church as a whole just seems to want to have fun. Nobody really preaches the word and tells it like it is anymore. Don't get me wrong, church isn't meant to scold all the time and it is indeed a community for believers. However, there is a time and a place for everything, and people have forgotten that there is a time for fun and a time for serious business(Ecclesiastes 3:1).
Elizabeth Corrie stated that pastors often preach a safe message that can bring in the largest number of congregants. The result: more people and yawning in the pews."If this is the God they're seeing in church, they are right to leave us in the dust," Kenda Creasy Dean says. "Churches don't give them enough to be passionate about."
Churches have gotten to the point where they want to be politically correct; they want to please everyone. We have to stop this! Some things just need to be said. Maybe if we began to start stating the facts and telling the congregation what they NEEDED to hear instead of what they WANTED to hear, maybe people would be more willing to come to God and maybe Christians would be strengthened in their walk with Christ(Ephesians 4:15-16,Ephesians 4:25,Ephesians 2:19-22, Ephesians 5:29-30).
No matter their background, Dean says committed Christian teens share four traits: They have a personal story about God they can share, a deep connection to a faith community, a sense of purpose and a sense of hope about their future.
This quote goes not only for teenagers, but for all Christians young and old: do you possess the traits listed above? We have to stop and take inventory on ourselves before we try and preach to others or attempt to draw people to our churches (Matthew 7:5). We have to be the examples of a true Christian walk in order for those coming after us to succeed(1 John 2:15).
Some adults don't expect much from youth pastors. They simply want them to keep their children off drugs and away from premarital sex. Others practice a "gospel of niceness," where faith is simply doing good and not ruffling feathers. The Christian call to take risks, witness and sacrifice for others is muted, she says. "If teenagers lack an articulate faith, it may be because the faith we show them is too spineless to merit much in the way of conversation," wrote Dean, a professor of youth and church culture at Princeton Theological Seminary
The above quote will probably step on a lot of toes, but it is the truth anyhow. Any teacher can tell you that they have encountered parents who have children that come to school not prepared for anything. When the teacher tries to discuss this fact, the parent's mentality is, "You're the teacher; that's your job." This is the same way Christian parents see youth pastors. We have to understand that, whether it be church-related or school-related, learning begins at home. Christian parents have to actively participate in the education of their child. Pray for and with them, read them Bible stories, discuss Biblical topics with them. Train them up(Proverbs 22:6, Proverbs 22:15, Ephesians 6:4)!
What do you guys think? Do you think the church is becoming lukewarm? Are Christian teenagers suffering as a result of their parent's lack of example? Express your opinions!
Hope you enjoyed the post this week! If you'd like to share something (Bible verse, a song, or a message...anything!) that God has put on your heart or have a question or comment you would like to share, you're more than welcome! If you're interested in writing a post for "Weekly Blessings," or offer an opinion or topic suggestion, get in touch with me via Facebook, Twitter, or Email; you can also simply comment below and I'll make sure to get back with you!