I really enjoyed reading Thom Shultz’s Holy Soup take on why students are leaving the church post-high school. There’s been so much discussion about this issue I enjoyed a fresh angle on how to help fix it. Here’s a clip, head there for his complete thoughts:
So, why are our young people losing faith in the church and God? Itâ€™s a relationship problem. They donâ€™t think of Jesus as their friend. Heâ€™s a concept or an historical figure. Heâ€™s an academic subject that their churches teach. And once they graduate from youth group, they forget about the Jesus subjectâ€”just as they forget about their other high school subjects. Jesus gets left behind with algebra and early American literature.
Ironically, many youth ministry analysts suggest that the cure to the youngâ€™s exodus is . . . more academic religious knowledge. They insist whatâ€™s really needed is â€œdeeper study,â€ â€œstronger biblical teaching,â€ and â€œmore robust theology.â€
Thorough Bible knowledge is a good thing. Iâ€™d like to see more of it. My organization publishes Bibles and Bible resources. But kids arenâ€™t walking away from the church because they lack an adequate accumulation of Bible facts.
They lack relationship. And relationshipsâ€”of any kindâ€”rarely grow and bond primarily due to the accumulation of data. Relationshipsâ€”with people and with Godâ€”develop through demonstrations of unconditional love, building of trust, forgiveness, reliance, and tons of two-way communication.