My husband and I host young adults’ bible study at our home every week. During the most recent gathering, the young adults’ pastor asked us what we think may be the main reasons Young Adults ( Roughly age 18-30) leave the church. Answers varied from relevance, judgement, pressure, lack of knowledge of scripture, etc.
Based on a Barna Group research project, studies show Reason #1 to be that the church is too overprotective.
(For complete article, you can go to this link: http://www.barna.org/teens-next-gen-articles/528-six-reasons-young-christians-leave-church )
Too overprotective? What exactly does that mean?
Roughly a quarter of young adults felt that “Christians demonize everything outside of the church”. Others expressed Christianity as “stifling, fear-based and risk-averse”. And still others expressed, “my church is too concerned that movies, music, and video games are harmful”.
Perhaps some churches are too overprotective.
Is this a bad thing?
Sometimes the word ‘overprotective’ can draw up negative connotations. Like, association with what one is not permitted to do. Is this how the church has come to portray itself? The center of dos and don’ts?
The word “overprotective” conjures up in my mind an image of the fretting parent, hand-sanitizing the kids after everything they touch, dragging them to the doctor after every sneeze, twitching with each minute that passes after curfew, etc.
The thing about being overprotective, is that I believe the intention behind it, is based on love and concern. However, I think being super overprotective can sometimes portray a lack of faith. God is so much bigger, yet still we try to control anything and everything, just to limit exposure to all that may deteriorate that upright, good, Christian armour we’ve worked so hard to maintain.
Not leaving much room for the Spirit to work, are we?
Young Adults leave Church because they feel it is too overprotective.
I don’t feel there is fault in protecting our hearts and each other. Except if it comes to the point where protecting becomes condemning and judging instead of loving. Obviously, over the years, some Young Adults have unfortunately encountered this.
We are the church. Sometimes we are broken. Sometimes we are scared. But we are learning what it looks like to completely trust in the Lord.
Perhaps some churches are too overprotective.
If this is the case, what should, or could we do, to figure this out?
Do You think the Church is Too Overprotective?
It’s a rather vague memory, but it’s there. At a relative’s farm; it was early spring. Mucky, muddy, slushy season. And what kid can resist an adventurous trek through an enticing mud garden?
Rubber boots? Yup. One can almost see the ‘Just Do It’ logo hovering over our heads, as we cautiously at first, then gleefully stomp through the muck.
Ok, so I’m embellishing a little. Truth is, the image in my mind is of my young self – maybe 8?- standing on the grass at the edge of this mud pit, and turning around to find my younger brother a few feet away, his boots half-swallowed by mud. He was stuck real good.
So I did as any good sister would do, and reached out to him, encouraging him to take my hand.
He tried. He reached…
I’m pretty sure my Aunt put him in the shower with all his clothes still on. Poor lad.
Isn’t that how bad decisions go about sometimes?
We cautiously consider our options, tip toe-ing around the mud pit.
Perhaps it is not a good idea…
Then again… what makes it so bad? Perhaps there isn’t any real harm in it at all… And, just this once…
Funny thing is, we tend to be a moment too late in the realization that, yes, it wasn’t a very wise idea at all.
Not that children would be giving much thought to the choice that led to their muddied selves. Perhaps in this aspect, my analogy is lacking. I mean, kids and mud – it’s just bound to happen, right?
But can we approach everything with this attitude?
“Everyone’s doing it these days…”
“It’s just a phase…”
“Just this once…”
Perhaps it is just me, but the moment I realize I am trying to justify something to someone – or more often, myself – the Guilty light flickers on.
The more recent sermons at the church I attend, have put a lot of focus on kingdom-first living. And it’s a challenge. How does one go about that? How do we incorporate our faith into our lives? Or is it, how do we incorporate life into our faith? And in this aspect, my guilt is not so much a matter of what I’m doing, but rather, what I am not.
So, what now?
The question that is never completely satisfied…
But I feel the need to write that God is Always Listening.
Apathetic. Indifferent. Unconcerned. Dull. Mundane.
What do you think of when you hear these words?
” Our pictures of Heaven are dull, platitudinous, and syrupy; therefore, so is our faith, our hope, and our love of Heaven… …
Dullness, not doubt, is the strongest enemy of faith, just as indifference, not hate, is the strongest enemy of Love” ( From Everything You Wanted to Know about Heaven But Never Dreamed of Asking by Peter Kreeft).
Often, I feel challenged to live on purpose; live with purpose. I get comfortable in life, then soon start wondering, ‘What good is this to anyone or anything? How am I living the Kingdom Life?’
Perhaps one of the worst things a Christian can do, is to be indifferent. Apathetic. To not be intentional, not live by the spirit.
I’ve spent the last hour in a desperate hunt for a quote by John Eldredge, and I can’t find it. But the gist of it is this; that it is the devil’s ploy for our lives to appear mundane and uninteresting to those who do not believe.
This thought has planted itself in my mind, and every so often, challenges me.
What am I living for? Who am I living for?
Some Unorganized thoughts of the day.