They Want More

by | Dec 31, 2007 | Purpose & Identity

Younger people are leaving the church for a profound reason: They want God to use them.
It’s no surprise that college-age believers are leaving the church. Lifeway Research, an arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, has come out with new numbers (usatoday.com/news/religion/2007-08-06-church-dropouts_N.htm) that confirm what most of us who work with this age group already knew—that the younger generation is not impressed with church.


In light of this news I fear that some leaders will continue to pursue what I call the “groom-if-ication” of ministry. They believe that the way to keep 20-somethings is to change the “cool” factor of your ministry. By dressing up the Dockers-loving pastor in an übercool Abercrombie & Fitch shirt with a matching American Eagle belt buckle, they hope to stem the tide.


Please believe me when I say that young people are not leaving because the leaders are not hip. Sometimes, in fact, our efforts to be trendy drive them away.
I understand the temptation to relate to the style of the age. We want to show young adults we care about their culture.


But we all know that true commitment has never been about how we decorate our services or ourselves. When 18-year-olds hit the career and college chaos of post high school, they are not going to stay committed just because our coffee is dark and we have a huge video screen.


They leave for a profound reason. They leave because they have never been “the chubby kid.”


What do I mean? Matthew, Mark and Luke all record that when Jesus fed the multitudes, His disciples wanted to send the people away to get food. Jesus realized it was a perfect opportunity to teach an important truth—that the Father wants to use everyone who follows His Son. So He said, “You give them something to eat.”


At this point John adds an important detail to the story: The only person who has food is a chubby little boy. How do I know he’s chubby? He’s the only one out of 5,000-plus people who remembered to bring an extra lunch! This kid clearly cares about not getting hungry.


In spite of his love for grub he hands over the bread and fish. A child—the least likely person to be the source of a miracle—puts his lunch into the hands of God.
What happened next? How did it impact the boy when Jesus broke the bread and it miraculously multiplied? Anyone who has ever been truly used by God can tell you the answer. He was transformed.


Too many young adults go into adulthood without ever experiencing God in this way. Yes, they have felt the chill of His nearness during a great worship set, and incredible communicators have inspired them to faith, but they have never seen the loaves and fishes of their small lives partner with God to feed the hunger of another. This divine activism is what we need.


Do not mistake their love of iPods and Xboxes as a sign of apathy. They want to be used. Within minutes of receiving the news about the Indonesian tsunami, 20-somethings’ blogs lit up with red-hot plans for giving and going.


Literally hundreds of thousands of them flocked to (and are still flocking to) Louisiana after Katrina. While church attendance among this group shrinks, mission agencies report dramatic growth.


The good news is that we do not have to wear hip shirts to reach them or have the sound system cranked up to rock-concert pitch. They want more from us. They want us to help them give away their lunches. They want to be the chubby kid.
Why? Because it is in the moment of giving away their lunches that the knowledge of the Lord becomes transformational to them.


So how do we help them? Instead of inviting the youth to listen to a great band at church, we need to kneel beside them and help them listen to the great calling of the Holy Spirit in their own hearts. We must help them expend their lives in a miracle partnership with Jesus.


If we don’t, they will continue to find dynamic opportunities to collaborate outside the church, and we will be left alone—with only cool-looking belt buckles to show for our trouble.


Curt Harlow is Chi Alpha Campus Ministries’ West Coast area director. He has been working with college students since 1982, and in addition to writing, he also speaks frequently at conferences. He specializes in planting ministries on college campuses in Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Is He a God of Wrath or a God of Love?

Is He a God of Wrath or a God of Love?

Do you think the God of the Old Testament is a God of wrath, and the God of the New Testament is a God of love? The truth is that God is the same throughout the entire Bible. His wrath and His love are revealed in both the Old and the New Testaments. So why, then, did...

How You Can Have a Perfect Heart

How You Can Have a Perfect Heart

Your heart is the most important part of you. It’s not only a physical organ that keeps your blood pumping, but when the Bible refers to the heart, it’s talking about who you really are. Each person has an inner and an outer life. There’s the person we show to...

How the FBI Raid on Mar-a-Lago Is Spiritual Warfare

How the FBI Raid on Mar-a-Lago Is Spiritual Warfare

It's been a few days since the FBI raided President Donald Trump's home in Mar-a-Lago, and the Biden Administration has yet to explain to the American people why they did what's never been done in American history—the government raiding the home of a former president....

How the Holy Spirit Can Restore Your True Sanity

How the Holy Spirit Can Restore Your True Sanity

Most of my life I tried to avoid one thing—being crazy or insane. When I was growing up my mother had emotional issues and saw a psychiatrist regularly. She was on medication which only seemed to make her mood swings worse. She had high highs, and low lows. When I...

Israel Prophecy: The Enemy is Stirring an Unimaginable Conflict

Israel Prophecy: The Enemy is Stirring an Unimaginable Conflict

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJFFqAgykmU A cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants took effect late Sunday in a bid to end nearly three days of violence that killed dozens of Palestinians and disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis,...

RECENT ARTICLES

Why Partial Obedience to God is Disobedience

My husband had a saying for our children growing up. “Partial obedience is disobedience.” He wanted them to understand that doing half the plan would not get them the full reward. Another reminder...
Kingdom Economics: Why is America Declining Spiritually So Quickly?

Kingdom Economics: Why is America Declining Spiritually So Quickly?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a surprisingly strong July Employment Report.  Total nonfarm employment was 528K (398K previously, 250K expected).  Private nonfarm employment was 471K (404K previously, 230K expected). The headline unemployment rate dropped to...

Can You Discern Spiritual Wind?

Can You Discern Spiritual Wind?

The wind is a funny thing. We do not know where it comes from nor where it goes. We cannot see it, but we can see and feel its effects. Wind can be gentle and refreshing, cold or hot, strong, and dangerous, and everything in between. When the wind blows, we must...

Messianic Rabbi: He That Has an Eye, Let Him Hear

Messianic Rabbi: He That Has an Eye, Let Him Hear

It is interesting that, as a Messianic rabbi the question I am asked most often by Christians is if I believe that they as Christians have to celebrate, or observe, the biblical Holy Days. They are usually asking about those days listed in Leviticus 23: Shabbat, Yom...

How the Holy Spirit Is Preparing America

How the Holy Spirit Is Preparing America

As the crackdown against Christianity in America grows, it is a cycle believers have seen before. While no one celebrates their religious freedom coming under attack, God has used this persecution to great effect throughout history. Over the centuries, there have been...

Dealing Effectively with the Dynamics of Change

Dealing Effectively with the Dynamics of Change

Change can be challenging. Some people look forward to change and embrace it. Some people dread change and try to avoid it. Since change is inevitable, so here are some of the dynamics surrounding change and the specific strategies to deal with change more...

God’s Holy Interruption Is Coming Soon

God’s Holy Interruption Is Coming Soon

This past weekend I preached at The Roads Church, a charismatic congregation located in the tiny town of Norris City, Illinois. Located amid cornfields, the population is only 1,325, but almost that many people visit the church on weekends. They come from all over...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]