An epidemic has hit the churches of America: nearly 61% of teens are statistically leaving the church by their mid-twenties. It is as if an invisible threat is attacking and winning against the church teens in America. Many people have tried to put their “thumb” on the problem and solve it, but nobody seems to have cured the epidemic. Many churches have even led to compromises among the church (drum sets, rock-and-roll, strobe lights, etc.) to bring in the youth, but all of these “techniques” have no effect on the epidemic. This leads to one huge problem: what is the invisible threat that is attacking the church teen?
To answer this question, let’s first take a look as some statistics. “A majority of twenty-somethings-61% of today’s young adults- had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged (i.e. not actively attending church, reading the Bible, or praying),” George Barna stated during a survey he took of many churches’ youth around the United States. The fact is true: nearly two-thirds of youth in church today will be gone by the time they turn thirty. To take a more accurate look into the phenomena, let’s narrow down what age did the 60% become disengaged. Another survey, taken by Answers in Genesis, indicated that 95% of church drop-outs were faith faithful during elementary, a little over 55% were faithful during high school, and only 10% were faithful during college. As you can see, there was a huge downward shift as the drop-outs entered college. But why? During the same survey, it was indicated that nearly 90% of church teens attend a public high school. Only 7% were listed to have attending a Bible school of a sort (whether Catholic or Baptist) and 3% listed as attending charter schools. Nothing would be significant about the last entry, except that it is quite apparent that public schools and Christian schools teach quite differently: the two schools teach two different worldviews.
A worldview is described as being “a comprehensive conception or apprehension of the world especially from a specific standpoint” (Merriam-Webster online dictionary). We see that a worldview is how someone conceives the world around them: how they understand to look at the world from a standpoint. Indeed, there are two major conflicting standing points which results in two opposite worldviews: the creation worldview or the evolutionary worldview. A large percentage of American citizens perceive the world in an evolutionary worldview (nearly 70%); but only a small percentage obtain the creation worldview (30%). But what exactly do these two worldviews teach; how do they differ from each other; and how is this important to solving the mystery of the invisible threat to the youth? Let’s take a quick overview over each worldview to see.
The creation worldview, based on the Bible, recorded that God created the universe in six literral twenty-four days. God created every animal and plant to produce after its kind, and He saw that everything was good at the end of His creation. God created man after His own image on the sixth day and made man to be perfect but with a free will and placed him in the Garden of Eden. With a free will, Adam made a conscience decision to disobey God and sin entered the world. Nearly two thousand years after Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden because of their sin, the whole world was rampant with their sin and “that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). God told Noah to build an ark and place one of each kind of animal onboard the ark along with Noah’s family; and God sent a Flood to destroy the World and destroyed every living creature and man that was not on board the ark. After the flood waters receded, animals started to spread out and repopulate the world but man stayed in one spot and agreed to start building a tower, the Tower of Babel. God then confused man by introducing language to separate families, making the families to travel away from each other and repopulate the world.
All of these points (creation, fall, flood, and dispersion) are extremely important to understand the whole creation worldview. All the foundational laws of marriage, the doctrine of sin, and why man needs a Savior is found in the first eleven chapters of Genesis. Without these chapters, it would be impossible to discern moral laws, absolute truth, and the meaning of life. If one was to attack Genesis and discredit it, the person would also undermine the rest of the Scriptures.
Many attempts to undermine the Bible have been taken and the most predominate one in America is the evolutionary worldview. The evolutionary worldview totally contradicts the Word of God, leaving no room for compromise. Evolution simply teaches that the universe came from a Big Bang that theoretically happened 14.6 billion years ago. From this Big Bang, all the galaxies, stars, planets, and moons were randomly formed over millions of years. Through time, our own earth was finally formed from a molten ball and cooled down. When the earth cooled down, simple molecular structures “evolved” into life. By means that are not known, the molecules eventually evolved into man and all life forms and plants on earth. There is no logical or scientific way on how it happened, but as evolutionist Bill Nye stated in his debate with creationist Ken Ham, “We are evidence for evolution.” (Studying the human body will lead to a conclusion of the complete opposite, of course. Man is evidence for the existence of God.)
Based on the theory of evolution, there is no basis for marriage, moral laws, or even a doctrine for sin. Since we simply came from animals, nobody should punish man if he occasionally acts like an animal. After all, we are just “higher apes”. This very concept is being in public schools to millions of teenagers around the world, and many of these teens are among the 60% that are leaving the church.
What is the Big Deal?
You may ask, “What is the big deal about the two worldviews?” Taking for a fact that the United States government has legalized evolutionary teaching and basically banned teaching creation in the public. Also, take note that a very large percentage (nearly 90%) of Christian church teens attend a public school and are being indoctrinated in the theory of evolution –the very theory that teaches that man is a product of chance and there is no Higher Being to answer to for your actions. The church is doing little to teach the foundations of the Bible to the youth, and many youths are “buying” into the theory of evolution, since many of their “leaders” (teachers) believe in the theory of evolution. Even many of the church leaders are teaching false doctrines of Genesis, making the teenagers to even more doubt the Word of God. If the teenager doubts the Genesis account, then doubt will spread to the rest of the Bible. Soon, the teenagers will doubt in the existence of God. If God doesn’t exist, there would be no need and no reason for morals; and logically, if there are no morals, people would have no determining factor between right and wrong. Looking at this statistically, we see this. Nearly 75% of teenagers who believe in molecules-to-men evolution also believe that pre-marital sex is not a sin; thirty percent believe homosexuality is a personal choice; and over an outstanding 50% believe that abortion is not murder. What made these dramatic shifts in views? The answer is quite simple: a change in worldviews.
A dramatic shift in worldviews is the invisible threat that is resulting in a 60% decrease of church attendance in millennials. The downward spiral of attendance is directly related to the shift of worldviews. More teenagers are being influence by the evolutionary worldview and would, in result, look at the world through his standing point. The church desperately needs to act upon this shift, or many more millennials will be lost in the coming years. There are many steps that the church can to destroy this invisible threat.
Solving the Problem
Many teenagers are leaving the church because they do not know that the Bible is a scientifically accurate Book. A good method on to reverse this affect is to teach the teenagers that science does indeed confirm the Bible. Science is being used in the public schools to prove that the Bible is false, but we can show the teenagers that science does confirm the Bible.
Another accurate way to keep the teenagers from leaving is to equip them with answers to questions that their teachers may ask, like “Who created God”, “Who was Cain’s wife”, or “Why aren’t dinosaur and human fossils located with each other”. By doing this, we are teaching the teenagers apologetics (the defense of the faith), and we are showing that the Bible can be trusted.
As a church, we need to work on destroying the invisible threat that is taking away many teenagers. We need to put the proverbial “thumb” on the problem and fix it once and for all. As we know, teenagers will still leave (for other reasons), but I do believe that many teenagers will stay in church if they are taught in what they believe and why they believe it. The best way to do this is to start at the foundation for the entirety of Scriptures- Genesis.