It doesn’t take statistics to show the staggering disconnect between high school youth group and college keg stands. However, if numbers are your thing, then this one statistic should suffice. According to a study conducted by The Barna Group in 2009, less than one half of one percent of American adults, between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two live with a biblical worldview.
Barna defines a “biblical world view” as this:
- Believing that absolute moral truth exists.
- The Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches.
- Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic.
- A person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works.
- Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth.
- God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.
As equally as depressing is number of professed “born again” adults in America who do not believe these, understandably foundational aspects of Christianity. It is simply mind blowing that as adults we can look at our society, feel the pangs of its depravity and judge the happenings within it when it is clearly our fault! Statements like, “I don’t want you to make the same mistakes that I made” and an ignorant naivety to the pain that we felt by doing those very things is largely the cause. Due to the intense love we have for children either as parents, teachers, mentors or leaders along with the predominately pure desire to protect them, we attempt to guard children with rules. Likely the same rules that our parents, teachers, mentors and leaders tried to guard us with, the ones that made us feel imprisoned and only intensified the desire to do the very thing[s] we were being “protected” from.
When will a generation of adults remember and be willing to admit that rules equal rebellion? Especially rules that do not have a reason greater than, “because, I said so.” Do’s and Don’ts weren’t effective in your life, what makes you think it will be effective in theirs?
I recently spoke with a school administrator, regarding an opportunity to speak at their institution. During our conversation, he referenced my appearance and said, I really believe that someone who the kids can relate with will be able to make much more of an impact than a guy in a suit.” I agreed without hesitation; it seemed as if he was willing to step outside of the pressures of his position as Head Master of one of the most prestigious private schools in southern Spain, until I got a message that I had been replaced for a parent. I am not overwhelmingly surprised; the man who will be speaking at the school assembly is a doctor and possibly a large financial influence to the school. Now, the Doctor may do a wonderful job, he may be vulnerable with his struggles and really allow the students to connect with his life, or he may just give them the same statistics, warnings and PowerPoint full of graphic images in regards to drug and alcohol use, numbers, images and words that the students could probably recite from memory.
If statistics and graphic images worked, there would not be so many cases of teenage pregnancies, overdoses or cases of alcohol poisoning, to name a few. This cycle has to stop, something has to give and the change starts with you, yes… you.
Students need more than “youth ministry”, they need more than pizza parties and “outreach” concerts, students need grace and they need to see this grace in your life. Allow this to dig into your heart… If only 53% of “born again” adults believe in salvation by grace alone, then that means just more than half of Christian adults in America are able to show this example. It is the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ that saves our lives and changes our hearts, and this doesn’t change in light of parenting, teaching, pastoring or discipleship! Examine the definitions of a biblical worldview and challenge yourself in the areas that you struggle to fully believe, because there has to be a better reflection to being an adult than the reflection that we often see and experience. Fight to be someone different and pass that to someone younger than yourself, for the benefit of you both.