We’re nearing the end of this 5-part series based on what the teenagers said at the groundSWELL online conference I attended last week (Here are Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). For this post, I wanted to focus in on a few things I heard that reminded me of the results First Trinity received recently from the REVEAL spiritual life survey. (Which, by the way, you can check out those results here.) The staff has been focusing in on a few main areas of growth. The first is working more towards challenging and equipping members. Second, the results seem to indicate that our people, overall, have a stronger relationship with their church than they do with the Lord. I was amazed to hear some of the youth from churches all over the country expressing these same issues:
- When asked, “If the church is going to meet your generation, what issues need to be addressed?” a student replied simply: “Go deeper with us. We have minds and we want to use them! We want to think more, know more and understand more. Don’t be afraid to go there with us!”
- “Sometimes people can put their faith in a church instead of putting faith in God.” This student went on to explain that when that is the case and something happens in a church that lets a person down, it’s extremely detrimental to their faith. If their faith is in the church, they get burned on faith. If it’s about faith in Jesus, they’ll likely stay connected to Christ (and maybe even the church) even if something happens at the church they don’t agree with. Smart kid!
In between student videos, occasionally some experts in the area of youth ministry would share their reactions to the students videos and highlight themes they’ve seen. During one of those moments, the adults shared this observation of the students that had just spoken:
“This generation is more interested in being challenged than we are in challenging them.”
They went on to say that this generation is also more willing to challenge US than maybe we’re willing to be challenged.
Those are some pretty bold statements, but I must agree that I see some truth in them. As we think about being challenged, being equipped, and growing in our faith in Christ not the church, what are your reactions to what these students have to say or observations you see from your own lives?