Where have all the twentysomethings gone?
I think there is an all-consuming black hole that opens up the minute traditional youth group kids graduate from high-school. Occasionally, the black hole delays its swallowing of said kid until midway through their freshman year of college, after college group loses its luster. It isn’t your traditional science book black hole….it is actually far more treacherous. It is the hole of apathy.
I swear that I hear Michael Stipe singing when twenty-something previous church kids walk by. “There’s me in the corner. There’s me in the spotlight, losing my religion.” And they do. Once they’re done with the barrage of camps, retreats, and Wednesday night (meat-market/whiffle ball/dancing on your chair to worship songs) church services, they disappear from churches, and do not re-emerge until they reproduce. Apparently God has no place in the lives of single college kids and couples without children.
Why do twentysomethings stop caring about God? There are several excuses commonly given…1)My church doesn’t have a good college group/singles group/young couples group. For me, this excuse doesn’t cut it. My college group was NOT a place where I necessarily fit. It was full of lots of granola type girls, guys who ALWAYS had to have deep theological discussions, and floaters that had extremely small amounts of Bible knowledge. It was very hard to relate, but I went, and I was active. I taught at my college group, and knew that it was important…fellowship is vital to a Christian, especially fellowship with fellow Christians. They understand you in a way non-Christians never will. And, another of my churches didn’t have a young couple’s group, so instead of perpetuating the problem and sitting around whining about it, I started one. You have to make it happen. Don’t use this excuse.
2)I’m so busy. This INFURIATES me. EVERYONE is busy. EVERYONE. We all worked, went to school, and had a social life. And you know what, if you don’t have room for God in your busy life, you have cut out the one thing that actually matters. If you can’t pull your butt out of bed once a week to honor your Savior and meet with other believers, you have your priorities all out of whack. “I’m so tired.” “I really need a day off.” “My Sunday is sort of my day to relax.” Give it a rest….I hope your extra hour of sleep means more to you than a relationship with Jesus.
3) We’re just always out of town. Again, you planned your trips…And, I find it hard to believe that you are gone EVERY single weekend during the summer. There are couples at our church that I literally have not seen since May. I guarantee that they will re-surface the first rainy weekend in September.
I could go on. This is obviously something I feel strongly about. Mostly because it just makes me sad. Of my youth group of 50 or so, only a dozen or so still attend church on a regular basis. Our new church seems to be plagued with young couples adhering strictly to one of the above excuses for not attending regularly. Even as a pastor’s wife, I will be one of the first to admit that it is not all about church. Its not…Your relationship with Jesus is really the only thing that matters…However, if you are not a part of your church family…if you are not fellowshipping with other believers, experiencing corporate worship, serving in some way…how are you getting fed? How are you developing your walk? I have read my Bible every day for the last eleven years, and if that was all I did, I would one hundred percent stagnate in my relationship with God. My husband and family are Christians..but if they were the only Christians I interacted with…I would never grow, or learn, or get to serve. My faith would not be challenged.
So, I say its time for the twentysomethings to climb out of the black hole of apathy, and face the real reason they aren’t a part of a church body. They don’t care. One of my all time most-convicting verses in the Bible is found in Revelation 2:4-5, “You have forsaken your First Love. Remember the height from which you have fallen.” I want to go up to some people and say, “Don’t you remember the fire you felt?” “Don’t you remember what it is like to be right with Jesus?” “Wasn’t it awesome to have such a solid group of Christian friends to uplift you, support you, and keep you accountable?”
I can’t make my friends and others around me crawl out of their hole. I can’t make them care about God, and I can’t make them fall in love with Jesus again…But I can throw them a rope…I will be there…desperately praying for the black hole to go away.