Going for Deep and Wide

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Here is a little assignment: What would you say best characterizes your church’s ministry to youth? What key words are used to describe its purpose, mission, and activities? (If you don’t know this off the top of your head, go to your church’s website and look for a link to youth ministries.) Now read these words from Pastor Kevin DeYoung in his post, “Reaching the Next Generation: Challenge Them With Truth”:

In his book on the religious and spiritual lives of American teenagers, Christian Smith coined the phrase “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” to describe the spirituality of American youth. They believe in being a good moral person. They believe religion should give you peace, happiness, and security. They believe God exists and made the world, but is not particularly involved in the day-to-day stuff of life…

Challenging the next generation with truth starts with honest self-examination. We must ask, “Do I know the plotline of the Bible? Do I know Christian theology? Do I read any serious Christian books? Do I know anything about justification, redemption, original sin, propitiation, and progressive sanctification? Do I really understand the gospel?” We cannot challenge others until we have first challenged ourselves. The “average” churchgoer must think more deeply about his faith. Many Christians need to realize, like I did one night in college when confronted with some of my own ignorance, that they don’t really know what they believe or why they believe it.

You’ve heard it said that Christianity in America is a mile wide and an inch deep. Well, it’s more like half a mile wide now. Christian influence is not as pervasive as it once was. I’m convinced that if Christianity is to be a mile wide again in America, it will first have to find a way to be a mile deep. Shallow Christianity will not last in the coming generation and it will not grow. Cultural Christianity is fading. The church in the 21st century must go big on truth or go home.

(published at The Gospel Coalition)

(Image courtesy of Susie B at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Written by Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson is a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and author. She has taught Sunday School for over 20 years and writes God-centered curriculum for Children Desiring God.

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