I often find myself saddened and frustrated as I watch the news. Hearing the news of shootings, burnings of churches, human trafficking, death, disease and disorder is heart breaking. The more I hear these stories the more I am reminded that the pain and trails of this life are not mistakes. They don’t just happen. They are strategic and intentional. Evil has a strategy and it’s simple. Separate those who God loves from God. And it will do whatever it takes to do just that. That’s been the plan since Genesis chapter 3 and as a result of that original plan of the enemy we are still battling the consequences today.
So often I run across young adults who have been beaten up by life and are questioning their faith. Whether it’s something that’s been done to them, a college professor that challenged their faith or something they have done on their own they find themselves in this season of life where they aren’t sure how Jesus fits into their story now. In fact, according to an article in Christianity Today, 7 out of 10 university aged students are walking away from the church. Evil’s plan to separate is working and a generation of young adults are walking away from church and faith because of it.
So, since evil has a strategy we should too. Specifically, we should have a strategy to help our young adults build a faith that will survive the trials of life, the questions of their professors and the failures of their past. So how do we do that? Well I think it’s 3 fold:
As ministry leaders we have to have a strategy to prepare the students who are leaving our churches with what they need to grow in their relationship with Jesus. Every student leaving our churches should be leaving with a solid foundation, an understanding of where and how to find authentic community, and true ownership of their faith. Students should be able to answer the questions:
Why do I love Jesus?
What does following Jesus really look like?
What do I do when I fail?
How do I find community?
What is my role in the body of Christ?
But they don’t just need to be prepared. They need to be supported. They need people in their lives who are further along in their faith journey to mentor and encourage them. In sticky faith by Kara Powell students are encouraged to have 5 adults who love Jesus investing in their lives. These five adults will play a crucial role in their lives. Helping remind them who they are, extending grace when they fail, and being a physical representation of Jesus in their lives.
And lastly they need to be reminded of what they learned along the way. They need to be reminded about things like integrity, community, faith, identity, managing freedom, and the importance of service and they need to dive into those topics on their own. They need to wrestle with these concepts and come to an understanding of how they apply to their lives in this new season.
We have created some resources to help you with that:
– Before You Go – a 10 week small group study for high school seniors designed to prepare students to leave your ministry with a solid foundation, an understanding of how to find authentic community, and questions that will lead them toward true ownership of their faith.
– Onmyteam.org – this website is a free resource that allows students to select mentors to encourage and support them through their first year of college. Mentors will receive monthly reminders of how and when to reach out to your students.
– Starting now – a 6 week devotional designed for the first 6 weeks of college. This devotional walks students through identity, community, faith, integrity, managing freedom, and the importance of service.
Evil has a strategy and so should we. Let’s prepare this generation of young adults for what’s to come, support them along the way, and remind them of who they are in Jesus.