Doesn’t it seem strange that even as church leaders bemoan young people leaving the church and God, they are still ignoring young people when they explain what they need from their church family? In fact, many churches are becoming entirely focused on upping the entertainment factor or cancelling classes for children and teens entirely.
When you talk with teens and young adults, they actually have a very good grasp on what they need spiritually, but aren’t getting from their churches. While some may point out personal preferences in music, politics or want churches to remove some of God’s commands, most are actually very astute.
As a Christian volunteer teaching their classes, planning their functions, mentoring them and/or parenting them, you may have to help their voices be heard by your leadership. Leaders often don’t want to hear what young people need spiritually. Why? Because changing the music, adding certain political things to sermons or ignoring God’s commands is a lot easier than making the changes young people want and need.
The changes they want will mean drastically changing some of the things we are doing. Ironically, it will often mean taking aspects of the church back to its beginning in the time of the Apostles. More importantly, it means changing our dismissive attitude towards children and teens. Most congregations will claim young people are their top priority, but it only takes asking leaders a couple of basic questions to realize they really care in theory – not in practical ways that will make a difference in the spiritual lives of their young people.
In my next post, I will share what young people have told me they need and want from their church families. I have had this same conversation with young people all over the world. The needs they share are basic to helping them build the strong faith foundation they know they need.
Spend time thinking about what you can do to help the young people in your congregation have their real core needs addressed. How can you convince leaders to ignore the shallow and superficial and focus on the deep spiritual needs that aren’t being met? How can you convince leaders, members and parents to put in the time and effort it will take to help young people reach their godly potential?
You may be the catalyst for your congregation. God may have you in mind to be the one who puts in the time and effort to make needed changes actually happen. It’s not going to be easy. The young people in your church, however, need you more than ever. Are you willing to advocate for them?