For some of our students, school has already resumed; and for others, well, it soon will! It is hard for me to believe that I am old enough to have a granddaughter who is a freshmen in high school this year. My, time does fly.
I must admit, I have lots of fears about what our boys and girls, especially our teens, face each day. It seems like a cliché, but it is true! They face things we never even dreamed about; I mean social media, iPhones, selfies–who could have dreamed such? Their world moves fast and the demands for acceptance are real life issues that bring stress, present temptations, and offer the world’s view of life, sexuality, and other things we have often times neglected to address in the home or the church. What we haven’t been comfortable addressing, the world and their peers thrust upon them every day; and they are forced to make decisions in many cases that we haven’t adequately prepared them to make.
I am thankful that we, as a church, have the opportunity to touch the lives of our students week by week, but the trend of many students leaving the church and its teachings immediately after graduation continues to present a challenge. I am not speaking of just leaving the organized church but setting aside their personal faith experience. Why is that?
There are several things we can do better, I’m sure, but I recently read a statement by Dr. Doug Bischoff, the Next Generation Minister at the First Baptist Church of Houston, Texas that grabbed my attention. I didn’t like it, but must “amen” it. His academic research, coupled with his experience working with students and parents, lead him to articulate what many of us have sensed but fear saying. Doug wrote, “The problem today isn’t that many of our church kids are rejecting the faith of their parents. The problem is that too many are accepting the apathetic, impersonal, mediocre faith of their parents.” (Southwestern News, Fall 2014, p. 22; emphasis mine; published by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary)
Ouch, the truth hurts; and, it should compel us to fall on our knees seeking God’s forgiveness and committing to find answers that will turn the tide of this trend. They will be going back to school soon. Will they be going back to church? Will you help me answer that in the positive by raising the level of personal commitment to our faith, thus providing them the needed help for everyday living now…and after graduation.