Inside Scoop on Constant Source | Part II
Last week in Part I of “Inside Scoop on Constant Source”, we discussed an overview of this mini-series and talked about the origins of Constant Source’s name. This week we are going to talk a bit more in depth about the exodus of Christian young adults from the church, the two key shifts that need to take place to remedy this disengagement, and we will touch upon the ways Constant Source aims to aid parents as we attempt to minimize these numbers in the years to come.
Young Adults are Leaving the Church
Simply put, the Christian church across America is hemorrhaging young adults. According to research conducted by the Barna group – a highly respected research team that looks at Christian church trends – as many as six in ten millennials that grew up in the church are walking away in early adulthood. There are many reasons why this is happening, but the two points I want to focus on today are doubt and lack of community.
One of the main reasons that youth are leaving the church is because they don’t feel like they belong in it. Kara Powell and her team of researchers from Fuller Youth Institute ran a study on youth from 2004-2010. Shortly afterwards they published a book entitled, Sticky Faith. Sticky Faith takes a look at their research and attempts to explain why youth are leaving the church. One of their more significant observations is that churches segregate youth from adults. Churches often have separate programming for kid’s and youth, which results in families spending a lot of their time at church apart from one another. It shouldn’t be a surprise then, that after spending eighteen years detached from the adult congregation, youth moving into adulthood feel isolated and unwelcome.
So, one of the key shifts that needs to happen within in the church is to break down barriers and to create space for kids, youth and adults to coexist regularly. Together we can reimagine a church where kids and youth feel like they belong and share equally in the main service.
Another reason that young adults are leaving the church is because they believe that there isn’t room for experiencing and sharing doubt. Brock Morgan, a long-time youth pastor and the writer of Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian World: A Hopeful Wake-up Call, notes that todays’ youth need people to talk to who aren’t afraid of opposing ideas. They need people willing to engage in meaningful conversation that will help shape their hearts and minds towards God. The Sticky Faith team also came to a similar conclusion. Their research found that the number one thing that youth desired from adults in their life was deeper and more meaningful conversation regarding faith.
The bottom line is that, at one time or another, each of us have experienced doubts about our faith and that is normal. God is bigger than our doubt and when we take the time to seek truth, in community with one another, our faith grows. Starting these kinds of conversations with our children early helps to normalize the mysteries of God and encourages children and youth to step into the uncertainty, and wonder about the grandeur of God, instead of walking away when things don’t make sense.
Bridging the Gap
One of the biggest obstacles to these goals is that adults do not engage as often as they should in the faith development of kids and youth. Typically, it’s not because adults don’t want to step into these relationships, but rather they aren’t comfortable or simply don’t know how. Similarly, it has been my experience that parents desire to have a deep and meaningful relationship with God and desire the same for their children. Yet, the disconnect comes when parents at times can feel ill-equipped to be the spiritual leaders of their home.
Furthermore, the Sticky Faith team found that vulnerability and sharing stories had the greatest impact on kids. Parents provide a safe place for discussing faith and normalize doubt if that is part of their story. When parents carry on conversations about Jesus, share their own spiritual journey, and are brave enough to share their experiences of doubt with their kids, their kids faith is more likely sticks with them through their entire lives.
In other words, adults need to share their testimony with the kids and youth around them. Constant Source wants to help make that a reality. Constant Source seeks to create a culture of mutual faith exploration with kids. This environment is a key aspect for full family discipleship.
To continue to learn more about Constant Source, read our next post of Inside Scoop. To stay up to date on our blog posts, be sure to subscribe below.