By Jim Faughn
Have you not heard the following statement from families, educational systems, and churches all too often? “We are losing our young people.”
Parents lose sleep and shed tears because of some of the things their children believe and do. School systems struggle to merely “keep order” in a classroom; much less help students prepare for the real world when they graduate (or quit). Church leaders go into panic mode when there seems to be fewer young people attending worship services and Bible classes as has been the case in former times.
Sadly, the “solution” proposed and practiced by many is actually a sure-fire way to totally lose the next generation (and generations to come). This “solution” can, as has been suggested in the title, be summed up in three words ---
Cater to themInstead of being parents and having guidelines and rules for your family, cater to your children. Make sure they are always happy. Make sure they have everything they could ever want. Make sure that they, instead of you, “call the shots.” If you follow this advice, you will be well on your way to losing your children --- and having more heartache than you can imagine.
Instead of demanding a certain level of behavior and competence in the school system, cater to the students. Make learning exciting and fun. Before long, there will be no more learning; only excitement and fun. We may not only lose our children as far as making a contribution to society is concerned, we may lose the society in which we hoped they would compete.
Instead of teaching our children God’s plan for marriage, the home, the church, worship, etc., cater to the least knowledgeable members of a congregation --- regardless of their age. Why should an old, dusty book matter as long as people are finding what they think they want out of life? Let’s teach that “the here and now” is really all that matters. Whatever comes after that (if anything) will take care of itself.
The Bible has many examples of young people who stood for and practiced what was right; even when they had to stand alone or as a part of a very, very small group. They did this because of a deep faith in God. We will not run the risk of truly losing our young people to the world and/or to Satan if we help them to have a faith like them.
You see; if our young people are old enough to understand God’s will and are not following it, they are already lost. It doesn’t matter if they are sitting in a church building or finding something “more exciting” to do. I love young people, old people, and everybody in between too much to not do what I can to keep that from happening.
How about you?
- Jim Faughn serves as an elder and preacher for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website.