In today’s changing world it is easy to get discouraged as it seems the next generation of Christians are falling away faster then any other generation before them. Statistics tell us that an alarming 70% of young people are leaving or don’t attend church regularly after age 18-22. But I believe that this up and coming generation has a great opportunity to “Turn the world upside down”.
So what is the solution? If drawing Christian students out of the public schools was the solution, then why are so many still leaving the church? If homeschooling or Christian School was the solution, then why do we continue to see the numbers of people leaving the church from that generation leaving the church? I think the Bible is pretty clear that there would be a falling away of people who were part of the church…
2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
But does that mean that we should just accept defeat and let this young generation continue to fall away? NO! In fact I personally believe that this generation of young people have the greatest opportunity to influence the world, like it hasn’t been influence since the days of Gospel’s and Acts.
More Christian leaders are waking up to the ideal that our young people don’t have to be ones influenced by the world, but that they have the opportunity to influence others for good around them, and that can only happen if we allow them to have tools and opportunities to reach the lost world. They must be taught to reach and influence their piers no matter what form of education the Lord has lead their family to. How do they do that?
- Parent Involvement – Parents need to stay involved in their children’s lives, whatever type of school your child goes to stay involved in everything they do. Don’t be overbearing, but be a supporter as you start to see your children spread their wings and find their direction in life.
- Church Leader Involvement – This should always be secondary to parental involvement and should never overstep the bounds of parental authority. But church leaders should take an interest in the generation of young people in the church and allow them to be involved in serving.
- Student Involvement – I can’t stress enough, churches need to allow students to be involved in the service of the church! They are just as important as any pastor, Sunday school teacher, adult, or deacon. Our churches need to have a culture of letting students know they are needed and wanted.
- Parental Encouragement – As a parent myself, I need to remind myself constantly to be an encouragement to my children. As parents we at times can be overbearing and often critical of every mistake they make, and then pay very little attention to the accomplishments they achieve. You need to take negative situations and turn them into teaching opportunities and take accomplishments and turn them into a “big deal”. A child will respond better to praise they they will to criticism.
- Church Leadership Encouragement- As a youth pastor, I am learning more and more how important it is to encourage the youth in every aspect of their life. It is easy to look at a teenager and criticize everything they do, because let’s face it, teens can make a lot of dumb choices. But, if you will take time to make a “big deal” about the good things they are doing, it is going to encourage them to keep on doing those good things. Encouraging them will show you love and care about them, so when you do have to help them through their dumb choices they don’t feel like all you are doing is staying on their case.
Lead by Example
- Parental Example – Children will only do what you yourself are willing to do. One of the hardest things about being a parent is remembering just how much your children look to you as an example. Your children watch your every move, look at your every intention, listen to your every word, and watch to see if your actions follow your words and instructions. We must be leaders by example as the old adage says “Action speaks louder than words”.
- Church Leadership Example – Do you want a group of young people who are on fire for God? A youth group who has a Gospelizing mentality? Then leaders of the church need to be on fire for God and must have a passion for souls. Young people are the best judges of genuine passion for Christ. Can young people be passionate about Christ if the leaders aren’t? Sure they can, but most likely they won’t be. But I really believe if you have church leadership that is excited about giving the Gospel, it will excite your youth to share the Gospel, and a youth group on fire for Christ, will set a church on fire for Christ.
- Student Leadership – Find the students with leadership ability and encourage them to step up and be an example to their fellow students. It isn’t easy for teens to see the influence they have on their friends and fellow students, but if they can see the importance of their roll in the youth group and church, you will have a student leader who will be excited about what God can do through their lives.
It is time for us to encourage and empower our young people to influence this world for Christ.
Acts 17:6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;
Let’s lead a generation of young people to “Turn the world upside down!”
What ways do you believe we can lead a this generation of students to turn the world upside down?