Recently, … “Barna Group researchers revealed that they believe that the 2020 Pandemic will accelerate a loss of faith among the next generation. It seems that we are in a season where youth need to be pursued more than ever by today’s church ...”
This was in the opening section of an exclusive interview with Greg Stier, the founder and CEO of Dare 2 Share Ministries. It is a powerful ministry designed and purposed to reach the next gen for Christ – and to equip them to reach their peers too. I thought an abbreviated report from that interview might be enlightening.
What do you see as the number one thing impacting youth in the church today?
Greg: Teenagers today are being saturated in a worldly world view. Their views of God are more impacted by Netflix, Social Media and their peers than by the church, their youth leaders, and their parents. Teenagers in the church have almost the same amounts of anxiety, sexual addiction and suicide rates as their non-Christian peers … (one source states) we are slated to lose a million teenagers from the church every year for the next 35 years at the current rate of faith/church abandonment.
Teenagers are looking for hope. Jesus offers it. Teenagers are looking for purpose. Jesus offers it. Teenagers are looking for community. The church offers it.Greg Steir
Have you seen the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 disconnect youth from the church because of church gatherings not meeting in person?
Greg: … For those only meeting online, youth leaders tell me that many of their teenagers are “Zoomed out,” … they long for face-to-face interaction. … Recently, the Director of the CDC stated that we are losing far more teenagers to suicide and overdosing at this time than we are to the pandemic. For many teenagers, isolation has led to frustration which has led to an increase of drug use and suicide attempts. Christian teenagers aren’t exempt from these struggles.
Does that make you fearful for the next generation of the church or hopeful?
Greg: In spite of all the terrifying statistics, I am very hopeful. God does his best work when things seem darkest. Teenagers are looking for hope. Jesus offers it. Teenagers are looking for purpose. Jesus offers it. Teenagers are looking for community. The church offers it.
How should the church go about encouraging our youth to take up their cross as Christ commands His disciples to do in Matthew 16:24-26 and mobilize them to take the gospel to their friends?
Greg: We must rebuild youth ministry on a biblical foundation. Effective youth ministry is more than fun and games and a short Bible lesson. Effective youth ministry makes and multiplies young disciples …
Steir sees the struggles, but he also sees the solution in and through Jesus – and the role of the church daring to share the hope, the purpose, the cause of Christ. Steir also write a book, Gospelize Your Youth Ministry which is free to download at his website.
For the full interview, go here.