I’m not trying to write a manifesto in response to the recent trend of young Christian leaders renouncing their faith and walking away…there are plenty of those already. In my opinion these are symptomatic of a deeper problem within followers of Jesus trying to learn and grow in their lives.
Our faith in Jesus often begins at a very young age. The Barna research group identifies a unique window in which people find faith in Jesus between 4-14 and that can be amazing for kids. As a kid that lived in a complicated home with lots of potential paths for life that would not have gone very well it was very important for me to find Jesus in this window too.
Even though kids face challenges today, they do it with far less baggage than adults and will often just accept whatever is shared with them by trusted adults. The problem comes in when growing up doesn’t come with growing faith. We move kids from childlike experiences through adolescence with lots of fun and emotion but we don’t always fill in the gaps that come with their doubt.
Emotionalism is like a drug and it may dull the pain or push the doubts away for a time, but not for very much time. The problems people face in their day to day lives, the skepticism that can come from higher education and the cultural pressures always push back in.
It doesn’t mean that feelings don’t count but facts do too. Each season of our life comes with the need to grow; our education, our career, our friendships…our faith is no different. When is the last time you pursued deeper study into the doubts you are facing and dedicated time to growing your faith beyond the last service you attended or the last spoon-fed spiritual experience?
Jesus said that the kind of worship that most honors God, the kind that He’s looking for is ‘when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth….‘(Jn.4:23). We need to make sure that as we grow up, so does our faith. God can absolutely handle our doubts, our skepticism and our questions. The opposite of faith isn’t doubt, it’s fear. And from what I’m reading over and over from these leaders, who I’m praying for, is that the fear they had from these tensions and doubts paralyzed them from the study that is available.
There is no question you are thinking about that God isn’t big enough to handle and that the community of Jesus followers over the last 2,000 years haven’t discussed and debated.
I will include some resources below for further study but what we’ve been saying all summer in our Starting Point Series is that if you have walked away or are thinking about walking away from Christianity for any other reason than His love for you and the resurrection that demonstrates His power to save you, you may have walked away unnecessarily.
Jesus really does make life better, even if it’s not all better yet. God is listening, my inbox is open and God will never give up on you, even if you are thinking about giving up on Him.
Grace and peace,
Possible Steps to Grow Your Faith:
- Check out the series we led this summer adapting the Starting Point material from North Point Community Church on finding an adult starting point for faith. Starting Point Series
- Read The Problem of God Book that addresses the most common objections and doubts to faith today. It is direct, intellectually honest and very current with the biggest challenges you’re thinking about.
- Continue to embrace worship experiences but consider from this article how you might personally incorporate a growing maturity in your faith to go alongside your experience. Spirit and Truth Worship