3. They get tired of pretending so they start leaving church.
In the “best life now,” “every day a Friday” world of evangelicals, little room exists 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 often: “The church is full of hypocrites.” Why?
Even though we’ve never given kids the categories of law and gospel…
2. They know the truth.
Young people can’t do it. They know it. The Bible has a word for all that “be nice” moralism we teach: law. And that’s what we’ve fed them, undiluted, since dropping them off at the Noah’s ark playland: do/don’t do.
As children get older, it becomes “good kids do/don’t” and as adults, it’s “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 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 they’re “good people” because they don’t “do” any of the stuff their denomination teaches against (drink, smoke, dance, watch R-rated movies), or they realize they don’t meet Jesus’ own requirements. This law contains no rest, only a treadmill of works that kids know they’re unable to meet.
So, you really want to know why youth leave the church? It’s because…