This fall I’m doing something new. If you know me, you know I’m passionate about apologetics and equipping young people to defend their faith. I’ve led devos either at lunch or before production class for years, and a frequent topic has been apologetics. I’ve come to realize that the challenges to their faith run far deeper than an intellectual exercise. Anxiety and doubt are crippling many young people today. This fall, I’m offering a Bible study for teenagers on Mondays from 4-5, in between The Bible as Drama and the Monday Performance Class.
Survey after survey has shown that 60-80% of college students who’ve been raised in church abandon their faith once they get to college. If this is news to you, check out this post.
But when you dig a little deeper, you find that those who leave the church in college actually started losing their faith by middle school. Why? Many cite intellectual doubt or skepticism, or they just feel that Christianity is irrelevant in a postmodern world. The Barna study Reviving Evangelism states that 47% of evangelical millennials believe it’s wrong to share your faith with someone who doesn’t share your belief system. I hope that shocks you.
Gen Z is growing up in a postmodern world where beliefs have been shaped by relativism. It is as comfortable to this generation as water is to fish. It’s pervasive and ubiquitous. Our behavior is shaped by our values, and our values are determined by our worldview. Our worldview is influenced by our relationships., and Gen Z is very relational. As parents we can spout facts and drill lessons about the reliability and authority of the Bible, but if it isn’t done in the context of a relationship, it will be essentially meaningless to our audience. So here’s where the Bible study comes in. I hope to train, equip, and empower a core group to reach their peers with grace and truth. If a teenager is hurting or doubting, a friend can speak to that need in a way an authority figure can’t.
The first 9 weeks of the study we’ll use the Be Transformed curriculum from Scope Ministries, and then we’ll focus on some of the ideas in So the Next Generation Will Know by Sean McDowell and J. Warner Wallace. Some of the topics in Be Transformed include our identity in Christ, the person and work of the Holy Spirit, our relationship with the Father, managing emotions, dealing with anger and bitterness, and getting off the performance treadmill. So the Next Generation Will Know shares strategies to effectively share the gospel. If you’re a teenager looking to deepen your faith and reach others with the gospel, I encourage you to sign up!