Article: YOU LOST ME! Why Youths are NOT willing to come to church? | Anson Alummoottil Titus
I believe “YOUTHS” are the future of the church. Last month I was doing a Bible quiz from the Book of Acts 1- 5 at my church. One of my questions was “Who will see the vision in the last days”? And the answer is “Young Men” Acts: 2:17. And today my question is, do we have enough young people in our church? According to Lifeway research, what are the reasons why youth don’t want to belong to the church?
· 34% say I moved to university and stopped coming to church.
· 32% say church members seem judgmental or hypocritical.
· 29% say I didn’t feel connected to people in my church.
· 25% say I disagree with the church favoritism (politics).
· 24% say my work responsibility prevented them from attending.
A church that doesn’t make youth ministry a priority does so at the peril of its future. Passing on our faith to the next generation is a big deal in Scripture. Verse after verse addresses the importance of sharing our faith, by words and actions, with the next generation. “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord.” Psalm 78:4. Last week I got a chance to visit a very old, massive church. But I did not see any preschoolers, no elementary kids, no middle schoolers, no high school children. I only saw old people. As I sat in the back of the church through the service, my thoughts kept drifting back to that church’s future. The church should think about how many youths are active in the church then we can understand the future of the church.
If things don’t turn around, the churches will die a slow death. The number of churches in the UK fell from 42,000 to 39,800 in ten years, according to a 2021 report from Brierley Research Consultancy. Most of the churches have been converted into pubs and other entertainment venues. Churches that have a future always have a deep investment in the next generation. Today I will be discussing how youth are effective in Christian ministry.
Encourage & support youth in all church activities.
Let them understand that they are also part of the church. Stop criticizing and appreciating for small things and give value to their ideas. Churches need to be inspirational to attract and retain youth. Sermons need to include inspirational stories so they can find Jesus as their role model.
A church needs to support the next generation and show them that it can offer them support during their difficult times. It is more appropriate to guide younger members, rather than to disapprove of their choices. It is the modern world and we need to show support for their choices when it comes to school, marriage, or career aspirations. Of course, not all of their decisions will match Scripture, but churches can provide support while encouraging youth to follow Christ.
Some youth say the church judges them.
Young adults don’t want to be in churches that are judgemental and rude. Churches should resist judgment and criticism as we are here to save the world, not to judge each other. Healthy churches do not judge as the only judgment should come from the Lord. He is fairer than us and far more equipped to do the judging. All churches know that we are here to serve the Lord and Savoir and help his disciples to find their way. We must strive to show love and respect at all times.
I believe forgiveness is essential to promote positive Christian values and faith in God. As we previously mentioned, judgment is not something that the Lord put on this earth for. Humans have sinned and will continue to sin at some point but it is the church’s responsibility to forgive them and teach them how to be better Christians. Rather than show hate or punishment for simple wrongdoings or inferior values, it is more beneficial to encourage Christian values and show forgiveness.
Recruit the most qualified teachers for Sunday school and youth ministry.
Don’t allow just anyone to work with children and youth; find your absolute top performers, even if it means pulling them out of adult classes. Church pastors should know the teachers and the teachings in Sunday school. Pastors should train teachers. Pastors should have meetings with Sunday school teachers at least twice a month. Get regular updates on Sunday school and youth ministry and then continually train the teachers. Help them know how to lead children in 2023, not the way they were led in the 1980s.
Don’t lower the bar when teaching youth.
Find the most appropriate material and teach it well. Assume that your children and youth want to learn about God. They’re probably more open to it than many of your adults are. Teachers should start using videos, computers, and the Internet. To not use strong Christian media-based resources is to miss an opportunity to teach our children well.
Respect when you talk to youth.
Respect and love them enough to lower yourself to their eye level when speaking to them. Something’s just different when they see us face-to-face. Pastors should always remember that youth are also the audience. Use illustrations that appeal to children and youth. Call them to attention occasionally by saying something like, “Boys and girls, let me tell you a story” or “Kids, let me explain this word to you.” If your children are listening, it’s more likely your adults will be, too.
Duties of the parents
Besides the Church, parents play a more significant role than the church when it comes to youth. The first and primary role of a parent is to give children moral and spiritual formation. Proverbs 22:6, KJV: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Parents should be a positive example for their children. Educating them with Biblical teachings and a prayerful life so they can understand what is true and wrong.
Many families appear to be god-fearing in public and at church, but in their own homes, they use swear words and fight constantly. Husband never respects wife and wife respects husband. Think about their children and what they will learn from your family life. What do they think about the church or do they value God? I believe for a child’s first school is learning from family. In fact, I know one church leader who has not spoken with his wife for 14 years. On the outside, they are very talented drama actors. Parents are responsible for their children. One day we will be answerable to God Almighty.
Hans Thomas, church pastor at Manchester Pentecostal church, has often been appreciated. He always assigns youths to participate in church activities and other programs. He is very concerned about all the church youths; youths are the heart of the future church. He always says it is imperative for the truth of the gospel to be passed down from generation to generation to grow the body of Christ. Ultimately, helping youth to grow spiritually in their formative years will equip them to make an impact on Christ both now and in their future. Focus more on youth. Amen.
“A church without youth is a church without a future. Furthermore, a youth without a church is a youth without a future.” — Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria
–Anson Alummoottil Titus