Retaining the youth in the church is one major concern of every church leader. It has become an old fashion to see young people staying in their parent’s churches. And the major cause for this is the parents and their children are not operating on the same page both on doctrinal and social issues. While the former like to stick to the old ways of doing a thing, the latter belief you can change the methods without changing the message. So, in my personal experience, I figure out the following ways to arrest this ugly trend.
- Failure to correct heresy: Bad news spread quicker than the good news. In the same way, it is easier to destroy than to repair. Heretical teaching may appear harmless on the surface but its destructive impact is better imagined than experienced. And one thing about false teaching is its ability to be in tandem with the youths. As expected, the young people fall to heretical teaching because of their soft mind. Apart from that once such teaching agrees with the surrounding trend, they’ll fall for it. So, the best the church and spiritual leader can do to salvage the future of the church and save their youths is to confront such teaching on all fronts. You can keep the youths by presenting the truth from the Bible and the contemporary world. If you know what they believed is false, show them the truth.
- Leaders must be current: Retaining the youth in the church will be impossible if the leaders are rigid to change. To think the youth will align with an analog doctrine is to be living in the past. Therefore, any church leader or leaders that will retain the youths must be current, so they can be correct. Today’s Christian leaders must be familiar with what resonates with the youths. Conversely, do not condemn their actions without verification. Similarly, in retaining the youth in the church, the adult should come to term that God is dynamic so the world and Christian leaders cannot be otherwise. Thus, embracing new development without compromising standard will keep you and the youths on the same page.
- Harness the power of the media: If church leaders are sincere about retaining the youths in the church, they cannot ignore the power of the media. But if they do, then they did that to their peril. Such avenues include the TV, cables and the Internets. Today, you rarely see any youth who is not connected to the web. Of all channels on the internet, the social platform takes the lion share. This is where you find the youths very active. So, as a church, if you don’t want to lose, your youths engage them on the social media.
Consequently, social media such as Facebook, Instagram, tweeter, LinkedIn are a few of the places you can sell your church’s doctrines, answer questions, reply to queries, and correct heresies. Other denominations are using these avenues in retaining their youths church.
- Tell the truth always: Retaining the youths in the church will be a mirage if you have a certain doctrine of the church you can’t prove why it is doctrinally correct. Remember, no matter how long or hard you keep the truth someday it will come out. Therefore, church leaders should be bold enough to tell the youths why they do certain things in their denomination difference from others.
This becomes necessary as the youths have access to a myriad of contrary church doctrine different from your own. And as expected if other teachings are popular and convenient they’ll fall for it. Then, the resultant effect is rebellion and exodus of your youths. With that, the unsuspecting teenager and youth get confused which of the doctrines he should accept. In this generation, the youth wouldn’t swallow the line, sinker, and hook of their parent’s church doctrine without verification.
Regrettably, they find other alternatives through the internet. And in no time, the church loses her identity among other denominations. As a church leader, the onus is on you to explain in clear term between the Bible doctrine and your denominational doctrine. I agreed that your denomination doctrine and your fundamental beliefs were your identities, and it is also Biblically correct. Nonetheless, such beliefs must align with the Bible doctrine relevant to the trend of things. I am sure if you tell them the truth you’ll retain the youths in the church?
- You must involve the youth in your affairs: A church that denies the youth a place in their operation has already kissed her future goodbye. Therefore, if retaining the youth in the church is your concern, you better get them involved in the affairs of the church now. Whether you like it or not, today’s adult will give way for today’s youth someday. So for your mission and church to be relevant to the youth of today, you must chart the course for the future together. That way, you’ll factor their interest into the equation. And not only that, the same youths will be the one defending the interest of the whole church and the community.
- Give the youth freedom with a string attached to it: It is inherent in youth to be overzealous. But when you monitor them, it will limit their error. For instance, you follow up some active ones among them on the social media. With that, you will censor their writes ups, comments, and reactions of their fellow youth on the social media.
So, whenever the youth go wrong, you can correct them. But, the essence is not to condemn their action. Once they discover you have a good relationship with them, they will open for you. You could check the youths on their social media and like their page, comment and share their post and picture to create a friendly atmosphere. Such action will create a lasting impact on the youth once they see you in their hood. They must see you belong to their camp to get their commitment and loyalty.
It is easier to retain the youths than restoring them. In the same way, retaining the youths in the church preserves the future and the heritage of the church. Therefore, church leaders should do everything in their capacity to keep their youths from the claws of the devil and the world.
Author: Joseph Akinrinola
Joseph Akinrinola is a Pastor, Sunday school management coach, author, blogger, and a motivational speaker.
Joseph created this blog to help young Christians establish their
feet in Christ, and to provide Biblical time-tested answers to life’s
questions about relationship, christian living and personal development.