Everywhere you turn, the youth of this generation are being indoctrinated by the world with lies.
They’re being told they can decide their own genders, explore their sexual proclivities, and engage in the pleasures of the world – all without consequence and without the consent or even knowledge of their parents.
What can be done to equip them to fight for their faith and be separated from this world?
Having a strong youth ministry in your church is an essential first step.
Youth ministry – or more commonly called, youth groups – are age-specific ministry groups within a church designed for young people.
Larger churches may even have special groups for young adults who are navigating their way through college.
Youth groups have become commonplace among places of worship and strive to be the safe haven for young people to fellowship with their peers and find solace during difficult times.
However, one recent study conducted by Lifeway Research in 2019 showed that young people reaching graduate ages are consistently falling away from their faith.
According to the study, one of the top five reasons for leaving the church is a lack of connection within their congregation.
Furthermore, research concluded that 34 percent of individuals who moved away to attend college did not seek out a local church within the area of their school.
What does this mean for those who spend countless hours preparing and seeking out lessons they feel will give substance to their wandering youth? Is the work done in vain? Are the youth pastors and workers fighting against a secular agenda that can’t be won?
Lifeway’s study showed that by the time an individual graduates high school, they’ve already lost an interest in building their faith and seeking their own walk with Christ.
This means that the high school years is where our youth ministries’ biggest influence must come from.
Being Christ-centered in the 21st century is tremendously more difficult now than it was 20 years ago.
Just in the last several years, we’ve seen an influx of leaders within our society embrace the secular agenda more and more.
Unfortunately, we are seeing how these harmful belief systems affect children across communities, schools, and churches.
But it is within the church that we must do what we can to connect, teach, and impart on our youth how to seek what is right in God’s eyes and not what’s right in their own.
In Proverbs 21:2, it says: “People may be right in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their heart.” (NLT)
We must teach our young people that not only do their actions, choices, and beliefs affect them, but it also lays a foundation for those following behind them.
We must help them evaluate and understand the long-term consequences of what choosing a secular lifestyle could mean for them later in life.
Youth ministry is about showing our youth that they are children of God, made in His image –unique and called to a wonderful purpose.
If we can usher in an atmosphere of trust and openness, we will provide them with access to the depths of knowledge that God wants them to know about Himself.
When those inevitable decisions arise about sexual immorality, gender identity, or even what kind of person they want to become, they will be prepared to seek out the Word of God and be who He calls them to be – not what the world calls them to be.
They must be deeply rooted in their own faith and beliefs in order to stand firm against the crushing weight of the secular belief system.
Youth pastors have an opportunity to teach that we can live for something greater than ourselves by yielding ourselves to God and being the person He called us to be.
We trust He knows what’s best for us, for within His Word it says, “His ways are above my ways, and His thoughts above my thoughts.”
We must make God a friend and portray Him as the loving father that He is – not send them off with the image that God is a dictator of rules and regulations.
If we are to make a lasting impact on our youth and create a safe refuge for them, we must begin by opening our hearts to what is truly pulling on our youth.
Get them talking and opening up about the real issues they’re facing – with no agenda. Even Satan’s secular agenda can push back against the faith of a believer who has the promises of God rooted deeply within.
Rather than the statistics continuing to show future generations leaving their faith, a renewed youth ministry can instill a desire in our youth to grow their faith and find their identity in Christ no matter what college, career, school, or city they choose.