The annual tsunami of high school graduations is just around the corner. Passing this milestone is one of the most momentous events in most people’s lives. At the very least, it is one of life’s most anticipated achievements. There is so much potential wrapped up in the lives of these young people that are making their grand entrance on to the vast stage of the adult world. What a great time of the year!
In spite of the fact that these are exciting times, the annual cap and gown season always prompts me to wonder about how the current occupants of the vast stage of the adult world are doing with one of our most important tasks: bringing up our children in the training and instruction of the Lord. I do not want to be a Gloomy Gus, but I am very concerned about some of the things I’ve observed in recent years.
Some of these are:
— It’s not unusual for soon-to-be graduates to begin drifting away from their church, even the youth group, by the time they graduate from high school. I’m aware of one congregation that recently honored their high school graduates, 85 percent of whom had not participated in youth group activities for several years.
— An increasing number of young people who have Christian parents move in and through and out of youth group and their church without ever committing to follow Jesus as Lord of their lives.
— Going hand-in-hand with the previous observation, there seems to be an increasing number of parents who have deferred to the church or youth group when it comes to their children’s spiritual formation. In recent years, I’ve even noticed more parents who are inclined to blame their child’s lack of spiritual development on their church or youth group.
— To be fair, there may be a need for constructive criticism here, since many congregations don’t seem to place enough emphasis on their youth programs. Beyond this, many don’t have much to offer young adults who fall in the crevasse between high school youth group and the young marrieds’ group. With so little to look forward to, there is little wonder that many young people fill their lives with other things.
So, I’m wondering: How shall the young secure their hearts, and guard their lives from sin? Well, this is not specifically what I’m wondering. These lyrics by Isaac Watts do keep running through my mind, though. What I’d really like to know is what the Spiritual Oasis readers think about these observations. What sort of experiences have you had? Why do you think situations like this are becoming so uncomfortably familiar? Perhaps your experience is different. I hope so. If so, what do you think is the root cause for the positive difference?
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