Young adults grow up, graduate from youth group, and leave the church. This is a truth; I don’t want to know the stats.
Why? Maybe many, if honest, would sum it up this way: Once I didn’t have to go to church anymore, I found it irrelevant.
The first blush of real freedom, of having the say-so over where you go and what you do sure is freeing. Sure, you have to get some sort of job, or live on school funding which others provide, and more or less pay for things–but after all you’re over seventeen, and no one can tell you what to do. That’s worth everything. Why spend time anywhere that you don’t find engaging?
But wait. Did you make that decision to leave church as an adult?
Or do you still approach church as a consumer, an audience member, a client–or like a child? Positioning yourself as a receiver, one whose needs you expect others to meet, is what a child does. And church no longer satisfied.
But that is hardly surprising. In order to “get” something out of church, you must take a step out of childhood. You must take responsibility for your own walk.
And in order to be able to do that, you must choose to invest. You make an investment–a commitment–in your fellow church family members.
When you do, you find that those other people are not grown-ups to be dismissed or mocked, but real human beings and creatures of the Creator, on level footing with you. You begin to listen not in order to criticize, but in order to hear wisdom, support, guidance.
Or did you think those people were too lame for God to use, too irrelevant to have anything to offer you?
As long as you wait, like a child, to receive what you want, you will not find what you want as a child, nor what you need as an adult.
A small town had three churches, and one summer all three became home to bats. One congregation tried to figure out how the bats were getting in the church and blocked every hole they found, but the bats kept coming. Another tried scattering moth balls around the belfry, but the smell annoyed the people more than it bothered the bats. The two preachers heard that the third congregation had become bat-free, and they visited the preacher of that congregation to see how they had done it. “Oh,” he said, “we welcomed them as members, formed a youth group for them… and we haven’t seen them since.” J.
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Sadly. It’s when they leave yg that they run into problems, which indicates that we did not prepare them to be Christian ADULTS and full adult members of our churches. We actually have a better record than a lot of churches where we are but the world is relentless in drawing them all other ways, and we must recognize that it is quite the intention.
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One weakness my children-now-adults noticed was that youth group tried to be relevant by discussing issues like drug abuse and sexuality, but it failed to give any foundation in the basic doctrine of Christianity. Without a foundation, the walls do not stand. J.