I recently read an article that was titled “8 Ways to Stop Going to Church Without Anyone Noticing.” The article boasts that “each step is so soft and subtle that no one, not even your parents, will have noticed or stopped to challenge you.” What are these steps you may ask? [While I’m only going to discuss the first three, here is the list]:
- Get really involved in something else.
- Only go to church every other week.
- Describe everything as boring.
- Don’t serve.
- Find a problem with something/someone.
- Date a non-Christian.
- Take a break from Church.
- Promise to come back when life is simpler.
Unfortunately, this is the path that many of our youth are taking today. There used to be a time in our culture where Sundays and Wednesdays were set apart for Church. However, more and more, these two days that were once set apart are now up for grabs. Whether it be sports, music, plays, tv shows, or work, they all now compete against our students’ time in Church and fellowship with believers. Sadly, everything but Church is winning this battle in our students lives. Many of the things that compete for our students time are not bad things, in and of themselves, but when they are put up against the meeting together as believers, they are. When these things take over our student’s time, Church becomes a secondary issue. When our students become really involved with other things to the point where it takes them away from meeting together as believers, whether it be church or youth group, they begin to pull away from the Church. As they miss one week of services it continues to get easier to miss the next. When they irregularly attend Church or youth group then they become disconnected with what is going on. They don’t understand what the preacher or teacher is talking about and they get confused because they haven’t been there to learn all the things that led up to what they are hearing. This confusion then leads to boredom, they give up on trying to understand because they aren’t there enough to know what is going on, and this leads them to not want to come back. This irregular attendance also leads to a disconnection between the student and the rest of their peers in the youth group or at church. I don’t know how many times I have heard that so and so will not come to something because their friends aren’t there and they don’t know anyone. This problem is caused because they are either irregular attenders or they never come to anything anyway. If they came regularly they would have friends there.
As believers and followers of Christ we are suppose to meet together. In the book of Hebrews in chapter 10 verse 25 we are told not to neglect meeting together, as is the habit of some. But how do we get our students to understand this truth, that it is a high priority in a believers life to meet with other believers regularly.
I believe that Deuteronomy 11:18-20 gives us a good answer. It says, “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,”.
Quite simply, Deuteronomy 11:18-20 tells us that we are to teach our children the Word of God in all that we do. This means that what we read in God’s Word should affect how we live our lives and run our homes. When the Bible tells us in Hebrews 10:25 not to neglect meeting together as believers we should live out what it says. If we commit ourselves to doing this, then our students will follow. Now don’t think this will not come at a cost. You yourself will have to sacrifice some things to follow where the Word of God will lead you. But in sacrificing things in your own life it will teach your students to do the same. However, sometimes you will have to make your student go to church. But when that happens remind them why you are making them go. Explain to them that sometimes (a lot of times) we have to give up what we want to do for what God wants us to do. Being a follower of Christ is not easy and you will have to give up some things in this life to follow Him. Don’t let your students waste their youth on something that only lasts for a season. Lead them by example and watch how God will use their life.
– Pastor Tim