As a youth worker with ten years of experience, I’ve known the pain of watching my students lose their faith.
Sometimes it’s on them; they just decide it’s more interesting to live the way they want. But sometimes the loss looks more akin to theft, being snatched away by the brutal realities of life after high school. They “get out into the world” and quickly find themselves mired in a slog of doubt, and the strength needed to wade through is rare.
As I’ve prayed over and grieved these friends, I’ve seen their struggles fall into categories. This is encouraging, as naming the battleground is half the battle. These are categories that many youth groups address with all their might, but there simply is no substitute for a parent’s influence.
I humbly offer some brief thoughts on these categories.
I mean…I get it. You love Jesus, but you’ve had it up to here with organized religion. You’re tired of churches with lifeless doctrine, petty in-fighting, denominational quirks valued more than sinners, neglect for the poor, financial priorities so backwards that…I could go on. The reasons for rejecting organized religion are many.
So you walk away from the church. Jesus is still your Lord and master, and it’s not my place to say otherwise. But you’ve decided to be a “Christian at large”, to practice a “Christianity stripped down to its bare essence”, or however else you prefer to say it.
But what many people miss: Jesus didn’t want it that way.
I could talk about how Jesus (through Paul’s New Testament writings) sees organized religion…but I’m operating under the assumption that, for whatever reason, “God said to do it” just isn’t a good inroad with you right now. I wish it was.
Instead, I’ll talk about Jesus. We can all get on board with that.