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? It’s a relationship problem. They don’t think of Jesus as their friend. He’s a concept or an historical figure. He’s an academic subject that their churches teach. And once they graduate from youth group, they forget about the Jesus subject—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 young’s exodus is . . . more academic religious knowledge. They insist what’s really needed is “deeper study,” “stronger biblical teaching,” and “more robust theology.”

Thorough Bible knowledge is a good thing. I’d like to see more of it. My organization publishes Bibles and Bible resources. But kids aren’t walking away from the church because they lack an adequate accumulation of Bible facts.

They lack relationship. And relationships—of any kind—rarely grow and bond primarily due to the accumulation of data. Relationships—with people and with God—develop through demonstrations of unconditional love, building of trust, forgiveness, reliance, and tons of two-way communication.

JG

Thought this post from Holy Soup was interesting – written from the perspective of a ministry resource provider, but had an interesting parallel to perception in youth ministry. Here’s a clip, head there for the rest:

As a publisher of Christian resources, I frequently hear from squinty-eyed conspiracy theorists who find evil in innocence everywhere they look. Some examples:

  • If you depict a rainbow you must be supporting a radical gay agenda.
  • If you ask people to silently meditate on a biblical truth you must be a Buddhist.
  • If you refer to science you must be a God-hating humanist.
  • If you discuss the environment you must be a pagan.
  • If you ask students to visualize a certain scenario you must be a New Ager.
  • If you like Easter eggs you must be a Babylonian Mother Goddess worshiper.
  • If you discuss things in popular culture you must be a “neo-Christian.”
  • If you set up a prayer walk you must be an Emergent heretic.
  • If you dance you must work at a strip club.

The Pharisees are alive and well. Today. And, they’re inhibiting the cause of Christ. They’re portraying the church as a judgmental band of paranoid finger-pointers. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that Christian folk should wear rose-colored glasses. But I mourn the harm being done by those who look at life through crap-colored glasses.

JG



I liked the blog post over on Holy Soup yesterday – talking about a lady who was recently introduced into the Sunday School Hall of Fame (which I didn’t know even existed and could easily nominate some of the shapers of my faith as well). Thom lists out some great thank you’s to people whose amazing contributions to the kingdom are largely overlooked in the church. Here are a few thank you, hit the link above for the rest:

  1. Knowing my name, and the names of my family members.
  2. Urging me to call you simply by your first name.
  3. Spending time with my son, providing him with a formative adult Christian friend.
  4. Demonstrating, through your life, how to keep the faith in tough personal times.
  5. Praying for me.
  6. Refusing the temptation to pass along gossip.
  7. Your thoughtful hand-written notes.
  8. Doing what’s right, rather than what’s denominationally correct.
  9. Allowing volunteers to run with their ministry passions.
  10. Your eagerness to learn–even from non-ministry voices.

JG