My friend, Pastor Jeff Crippen, who blogs about domestic violence at A Cry for Justice posted the following note on the A Cry for Justice Facebook page and I asked pretty please if I could share it with you. Yes, I really did say, “pretty please.” LOL
Sadly, at Spiritual Sounding Board, we do often discuss controlling and abusive pastors, so when I have the opportunity to show you a pastor who gets it and really cares about people and their souls, I like to share it with you.
Jeff is part of a network of people I work with dealing with abuse issues in the church and I’m grateful for the encouragement Pastor Jeff has been to me in my life as he has sometimes cared for my weary soul.
Why Don’t Young People go to Church?
by Jeff Crippen
Recently I was up in the woods cutting firewood and talked to a forester who happened by. Turns out he knew some people that I did, and as we talked I told him I was a pastor in town and that I had written a book and would give him a copy. He said that he attends a different church here and that he is perplexed because young people “just don’t go to church anymore.” He seemed like a sincere fellow, and his observation is accurate.
Why don’t young people go to church anymore?
Now certainly we know that some people, young or old, simply love their sin and hate (yep, hate) Christ. That’s why they don’t repent and believe in the gospel. That’s why they aren’t in church.
But there is another reason many young people aren’t in church and it is the very same reason that many of you do not attend a local church on the Lord’s day. I don’t really even have to state the reason, do I? Many people do not go to church because they have seen gross, ongoing, injustice and hypocrisy in the church they grew up in. Some of them saw it in their own families and homes. They saw the abuser in action at home in all his wickedness. And then they saw him leading a Bible study at church, regarded by the people there as an eminent saint. Eventually young people figure it out. The thing is a farce. They want no more of it.
Our Lord had some strong commands about raising children up in His name:
Deuteronomy 6:5-7 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (6) And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. (7) You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Matthew 19:13-14 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, (14) but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Let me suggest very strongly to you that many, many local churches, pastors, and church members are indeed violating these sobering commands of Christ. They might as well go start looking for a rock to tie around their neck right now and jump in the ocean. Why? Because they are enabling and justifying evil in their midst. They are not effecting justice for the widow and orphan. They are not champions of the oppressed. They walk in sin, then come to church on Sunday with their holy disguise on and no one ever calls them to accounts for it.
But the children see it.
Might I also suggest to you that if churches and pastors would repent and start obeying Christ, if they would begin to confront “Christians” who are walking in sin and hypocrisy, several things would happen:
1) There would be rioting in the pews.
2) Many people would leave.
3) Children would see justice and righteousness modeled. Real Christianity. The real stuff Jesus calls us to.
And maybe, just maybe, those kids will grow up and know Jesus is real, that God’s Word is truth, and that Christ has a remnant of His true flock against which the gates of hell have not prevailed.