I see so much hand-wringing about the future generations. People are deeply concerned for their kids and grand-kids. They take to social media and whine or complain. They mock kids today and their work ethic.
Folks in the Church are almost apoplectic about the numbers of kids who walk away from the faith. There are studies done. There are books written. New and shinier programs are developed.
What if I told you that the Bible actually gave us an answer to the problem?
It does. It’s right there, for anyone and everyone to read. I’m not even kidding. Thankfully, it doesn’t make mention of this guy…
Psalm 78 gives us some insight,
He established a testimony in Jacob
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;
and that they should not be like their fathers,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
whose spirit was not faithful to God. (Psalm 78:5–8, ESV)
It turns out the answer has been right in front of us. No seriously, if you’re a parent or grandparent go find a mirror. Do you see that person? That person is the answer to the decline of future generations in the Church. That person is the answer to the “terrible state” of the current generation.
There is nobody else.
We are the answer. If the emerging generations are walking away from the faith it’s because we have not been faithful. It isn’t because of a program at church. It isn’t because of a youth pastor or the lack of a youth pastor. It’s because of us.
We, parents, are responsible for teaching our kids about the faith. We are responsible to pass on to them the works of God. We are the ones who are supposed model an abiding faith.
I am most caught up by this phrase, “that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.” What blows me away is that there is in this a trajectory of greater faithfulness from generation to generation. The emerging generations ought to be progressing in faith. They should be more faithful. They should be more steadfast in their faith.
Yet, they walk away? Why?
We have not lived lives that honor God. We have not modeled faith. We have not taught them about the great works of God.
For too long we have outsourced our kids faith development to the youth pastor. Youth pastors are amazing servants of God. They are being used by God to change lives and impact future generations. But they are to augment what the parents are teaching and modeling for their kids, not to replace.
It turns out that our kids are our responsibility. Own that responsibility. Teach them the great works of God and show them your life lived in faith.