Hey there disciple!
This past week we started our Bible study series called “So the next generation will know” to help us face the challenges of young people leaving the Church (“rise of the ‘nones’). This week’s lesson was titled, “Love Responds.” We discussed some of the possible causes young people are leaving and started thinking about the “reasons and relationships” to keep young people (like you!) engaged. This series is “heavier” than our last to help you grow. Growth can be uncomfortable, but is so worth it! We don’t stay babies for long. Who wants to be a diaper-wearing disciples? 😉
The below should take about 15 minutes to complete each day (if you take a while to reflect). Stay faithful, for God Who blesses you is faithful. Looking forward to connecting with you again on Wed September 9, 7pm (see text for conference call info).
God bless you little brothers and sisters.
BCAN Theme 2020: Life together in Christ!
John 6:66 NKJV – From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
We all have a friend or loved one who has walked away from their faith – away from the truth of the Bible. This isn’t an isolated issue – it is a national crisis, and at the same time it is a deeply personal problem.
Question: Do you think you will keep attending Sunday Worship Service after high school graduation? If yes, then what will keep you coming back?
Question: Why do you think so many young people have disengaged the Church?
Question: What do you think the Church is doing to contribute to this problem?
Question: What are the most pressing faith-related topics/questions that your friends have about their faith?
Jeremiah 24:7 NKJV – ‘Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.
The bad news is that young Christians are leaving the Church in greater numbers, and are leaving the Church long before they ever tell anyone. Some young people were coming to church to be some place safe where people cared. So they never really had a connection to the Savior. Young disciples of Jesus Christ must be strengthened in their faith and understanding of God’s Word so they become less likely to walk away. So many who walk away are “Cultural Christians” – falling into the faith because others around them doing the same. Without a personal relationship with the Savior their faith is fragile.
The first good news is that you are never too young to give your heart to God. You don’t have to fall into the faith. You can fall on your knees and humbly submit your life to Christ! The second good news is that God can draw wandering hearts back to Himself.
3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
As the Apostle John had great joy from seeing disciples continue walking with Jesus Christ so do the caring adults around you have great joy when they see you continuing to be faithful. Keep it up!
Question: What are the biggest questions or doubts that you have about your faith? What are you doing to address them?
1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear
Reasons and Relationships both matter! Young people are seeking reasons (explanation) and relationships (emotional connection). First, there are reasons to believe. The Bible can be investigated and studied to build your faith! We are called to be ready to share what we find (“give a defense”) with others. But that means we have to take on the tough, faith-related issues. Your friends and loved ones might need to understand that the Bible has answers for their tough questions.
Question: What do your skeptical friends say about Christianity in general?
Question: What was something the Pastor brought up this week during the sermon that was difficult to understand or accept?
1 Thessalonians 2:8 NKJV – So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.
Young people are hungry for spiritual and emotional connection. Building relationships takes time of course. So even though the matter of sharing explanations with others is URGENT, you must also be PATIENT. First be patient with yourself. Better understanding God’s Word takes time. Don’t give up when it gets hard. Persevere. Second, be patient with those who have walked away. Just like the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15), your friends and loved ones will wonder. Pray for God to work on their hearts and minds and for the opportunity to share with them so they will return to the faith. Lastly, be balanced. Remember both reasons and relationships (explanations and emotional connections) are important. Speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15). Both truth and love are critical.
Question: Do you think your personal strength lies more in sharing reasons to believe, or in building relationships
Question: What is one key takeaway you got from this week’s lesson?
Question: What are two action steps you can take over the next week to deepen your faith (either “reason” related or “relationship” related)?