In September of 2006 George Barna sent a shockwave through the Church and particularly youth ministries. The study released by the Barna Group stated that “61% of today’s young adults . . . had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged (i.e., not actively attending church, reading the Bible, or praying). Only one-fifth of twenty-somethings (20%) have maintained a level of spiritual activity consistent with their high school experiences.” (source) The statistic is shocking and disheartening to churches that purport to be making disciples. Barna goes on to report, “Another one-fifth of teens (19%) were never significantly reached by a Christian community of faith during their teens and have remained disconnected from the Christian faith.” There have been other follow-up studies that are providing more in-depth information. The “Soul Searching” study was completed by Christian Smith and The National Study of Youth and Religion. The Sticky Faith Study was completed by Kara Powell and the Center for Youth and Family Ministries through Fuller Seminary. Each have had follow ups and are asking the question: Why are teens walking away from faith?
Our faith is steeped in both intellectual assent and mystery, so it is no wonder that our students are questioning the validity of having faith in Christ. Those who lean into the intellect struggle with the mystery and those who lean toward spirituality miss the ancient historical narrative that grounds the Christian faith. We believe that students need to embrace both realms in a more holistic manner in order to have flourishing life in Christ. But let’s be honest: none of this is new.
There are age old questions that every follower of Jesus has had to grapple with:
- What do we really know about Jesus?
- How do I have faith when everyone around me is saying it is just a crutch or so flawed that it is stupid to believe?
- Why do I even need God?
We strongly recommend that you create a box where students can write down and submit questions as you go along. It’s very likely they will be addressed at some point in the series, but this way you will know where your students are at in the process and you can tailor the lessons to them.
We are sure you can add to this list. We also know that there are not pat answers to any of these questions that will satisfy students long term. The most effective way to answer them is to allow students to experience the truth for themselves through a number of means. We strongly recommend that the curriculum prompts that include scripture, prayer, and discussion be utilized, but all that is up to you.
One of our foundational beliefs is that the Holy Spirit does the work of convincing. We encourage you and your team to lean into that belief as well. Our job is not to argue anyone into the Kingdom or to berate another’s beliefs, but to present better questions, the testimony of people, and the scriptures.
This product includes
- Student Leadership Meeting
- Four Topical Lessons with Small Group Questions
- Slide templates for PowerPoint, Keynote, ProPresenter, MediaShout, etc
Long gone are the days of shallow and pat answers that have been common in our teaching. Students today live in a complex world and our teaching must rise to the occasion and help guide them through the maze of culture’s complexities. Brock Morgan, along with this dream team of authors and thinkers, have put together what we believe is NEXT in youth ministry teaching and engagement. Through, in a more holistic manner, addressing the topics that are key in a student’s burgeoning faith we have crafted a series that will direct investigation and appeal to the heart. Connected to The Amazing Next Conference, this series is meant to empower students and to help them have a sustainable faith that lasts; a faith that is thoughtful and engaged in what God is doing in the world.
We have brought together some amazing authors, who are veterans in ministry and really smart!
Brock Morgan plus themed lessons from: Brian Cress, Chuck Hunt, Mark Helsel, Leah Knight, Danny Kwon, Paul Martin, Kelsey Morgan, and Mark Riddle
Index of Themes
(Each theme covers 4 weeks and 1 student leadership lesson = 5 lessons/theme)