According to the stats, the majority of those raised in conservative Christian homes stop going to church sometime in their late teens and early twenties. What accounts for this disturbing trend and what should Christians do about it? How can we pass on the faith to the next generation in such a secular age as this? Shane Rosenthal discusses this issue with Sean McDowell, co-author of So the Next Generation Will Know: Preparing Young Christians for a Challenging World.
Shane Rosenthal: Parents have outsourced the discipleship of their children to their church’s youth ministry, while at the same time, many of those ministries have adopted attractional rather than instructional models of outreach, where the focus has shifted from discipleship to entertainment. Churches also began segregating kids by age away from the life of the church so that adults and young people, in a typical congregation, rarely have opportunities to interact. So, how should we address this problem? How are we to pass on the faith to the next generation?
Term to Learn
“Importance of Doctrine”
As individual believers and as churches, we are always prone to fall away unless we are brought back by the Spirit to the Word. Therefore, we always need a theology grounded in that Word in dependence on the Spirit. The study of Christian doctrine is always an indispensable enterprise for the faith and practice of the whole church—not only for academics or even pastors, but for the whole communion of saints. Everyone who confesses the creed should always be growing in his or her understanding of its depth and implications.
The alternative to this growth in the knowledge and grace of Christ is not pious experience or good works but gradual assimilation to the powers of this passing evil age. The biblical drama plots our character “in Adam” by our natural birth in this present evil age. Nevertheless, “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet 1:3-5).
(From Michael Horton’s, The Christian Faith, p. 26)