3. They got tired of pretending.
In the “best life now,” “every day a Friday” world of evangelicals, there’s little room for depression, struggle or doubt. Turn that frown upside down, or move along.
Kids who are fed a steady diet of sermons aimed at removing anything (or anyone) who doesn’t serve “God’s great plan for your life” has forced them to smile and, as the old song encouraged them, be “hap-hap-happy all the time.” Our kids are smart, often much smarter than we give them credit for. So they trumpet the message I hear a lot from these kids: “The church is full of hypocrites.” Why?
Even though they have never been given the categories of law and gospel…
2. They know the truth.
They can’t do it. They know it. All that “be nice” moralism they’ve been taught? The Bible has a word for it: law. And that’s what we’ve fed them, undiluted, since we dropped them off at the Noah’s Ark playland: Do/Don’t Do.
As they get older, it becomes “good kids do/don’t” and as adults, “Do this for a better life.” The gospel appears briefly as another “do” to “get saved.”
But their diet is law, and scripture tells us that the law condemns us. So that smiling, upbeat “Love God and Love People” vision statement? Yeah, you’ve just condemned the youth with it. Nice, huh?
They either think that they’re “good people” since they don’t “do” any of the stuff their denomination teaches against (drink, smoke, dance, watch R-rated movies), or they realize that they don’t meet Jesus’ own words of what is required. There’s no rest in this law, only a treadmill of works they know they aren’t able to meet.
So, either way, they walk away from the church because…