I remember taking a couple youth out for lunch one day, as I had not seen them for a while, and just wanted an opportunity to reconnect. Although it was an enjoyable experience just to be able to sit and catch up on life, I was there for more than a casual visit; I wanted to understand the reason behind the lengthy departure from our youth group.
As I subtly probed them with questions, I was greeted with a few outstanding thoughts that they presented concerning not just their own Christian walk, but Christianity in general. They began to describe for me situations they found themselves in at school where they were questioned on what they believed. Unable to find sufficient answers to not only subdue the attackers with their hostile questions, but also convince themselves of what they believed, they soon found themselves discouraged about their faith.
“These youth were not only unaware
that it is reasonable to believe in God,
but they were convinced it was more
reasonable not to.“
They admittedly suggested that they had to believe “blindly” in God, and that there is so much more “proof” against the existence of God. This was hard for me to hear coming from two dedicated youth. The feeling, however, only intensified when I realized that most of the youth in my group had adopted the same belief.
Although this is my personal experience with youth in my own group, I do not believe it would be too bold to suggest that this situation exists in youth groups and schools everywhere. I believe that youth are constantly being challenged in their schools, not just by their peers, but also by their teachers. Youth are finding themselves, out-numbered and ill-equipped to deal with questions that not only challenge their faith, but their ethical beliefs as well. With the rise of the new-atheist movement, Christians have been painted in a negative limelight as hateful towards peoples like, Homosexuals and Pro-choice abortionists. Youth have felt the pressure of this and feel that calling themselves Christians can single them out as “haters” so to speak, which becomes particularly daunting in a school full of “accepting” people.
This all may seem very sad and discouraging to know, but I say with enthusiasm, there is hope! Youth are hungry for answers, much more than we would begin to think. In fact, the very idea that there is information out there that exists to support the existence of God, seems surprising to many of them. Many of my own youth have responded positively when informed that their faith is reasonable, and it leaves them wanting more. Not only that, but it appears to excite them and boost their confidence when talking about their faith with others. Apologetics has become more and more relevant over the years, and is now becoming necessary. The amount of opposition that Christians face, especially in High School and University, is ever increasing; to the point where it is more than just a good idea to educate individuals on why they believe what they believe. This is not to suggest that Apologetics is the alpha and omega of all ministry; but rather, it is a necessary part of what Jesus commands us to do that we all too often seem to overlook when reading Mark 12:30 as it says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (my own emphasis).
I encourage everyone to prayerfully consider equipping young believers with the ability to defend their faith. It can be done in a number of different ways whether you integrate it into teaching on a youth night, or perhaps just in a casual conversation that arises while spending time with them. I remember one youth, who was teetering on the fence with his faith, told me that it was a conversation he had with me on the bus about reasonable faith that gave him that little extra nudge he needed. Perhaps there are youth in our groups right now that just need that extra nudge, or maybe just need that extra encouragement. No matter the instance, I hope you will partner with me in a journey to better equip a generation to firmly stand for what they believe!
Article by, Dustin Huguet
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