Church leaders and parents fret that they are losing their young people. The numbers are alarming. Why are they leaving? Who do we blame? Parents? Elders? The Youth Minister? The congregation’s worship style?
I’ve noticed that some are not beyond a little blackmail: “If you don’t remake church in our image, we’re out of here.” There are some things our young people should legitimately expect. They should expect us to be genuine, to demonstrate a changing in our lives because of Christ, to care for the poor, to act as if worship is not a drudgery to endure.
Ken Ham, in his book Already Gone has another suggestion.
“Even in conservative churches everyone tries to make a big deal out of praise and worship. We think that if we can make it dynamic, energetic, and fit the style of the generation we’re trying to reach, the epidemic [of young people leaving the church] will be stopped and young people will start flooding back into the Church. That’s simply not the case. Our research showed that music is not a fundamental factor in young adults choosing to leave or stay at a church-but the preaching of God’s Word is” (p. 110).
Could it be that many young people want substance in the preaching and teaching they hear? Could it be they want the hymns they sing to carry distinct biblical teaching? Our temptation is to water down the content of our worship in our desperate attempt to keep them; could it be that we should be nourishing them with solid food, with the richest spiritual nutrition there is, the word of God?
“My word,” the Lord reminds us, “will not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose” (Isaiah 55:11).