The social scientists who do statistical analysis of the American Evangelical world (including Pentecostals and Charismatics) tell us that for the most part, we have lost a generation of young adults. There are many explanations. Here are a few. First, we have produced many churches that are not solidly biblical. They center on entertaining the saints with good entertainment, worship bands, short and inspiring messages, and good refreshments after. The young people’s programs are also entertaining. However, these churches do not emphasize small groups for discipleship and mentoring to maturity. Most adults are not really discipled and their understanding of Bible doctrine is very poor according to the latest surveys. Secondly, people have given their children over to the public schools. They have seven hours plus every day to form attitudes that are not godly and teaching that is contrary to the Word of God and a biblical worldview. Thirdly, parents are not discipled to disciple their children. Children need age-appropriate teaching and spiritual experience at home and in the congregation so that by the time they are in their later teens in high school, they have had a deep revelation of Yeshua, know the power of the Spirit and have a good knowledge of the Word including apologetics (the case for our faith) that is age-appropriate. Last, a college program, if college is from the leading of God, should be one that reinforces faith. Bible school can precede other degrees. Last, we are raising children on the internet and social media which undercuts their attention span for longer reading. Constant game playing according to some researchers changes the brain in negative ways and creates a generally compromised attention span. Some parents have lost children to the negative content on the internet. Some of the leading inventors and business creators of the internet have now come to give many warnings. Some, not even believers, ban their children from social media. Anyone can do the research and confirm these assertions.
We need to pray for the lost generation, that God will undertake to recover them. Now is the time for us to seek God in repentance and a quest for revival which will lead to reformation in congregational life. We should seek a reformation where discipleship and small group accountability and fellowship is the center. This includes a quality spiritual life for each member and a solid knowledge of the teaching of the Bible. We then need to disciple the parents to disciple their children and young adults. We need to also measure the quality of the programs for young people that should include the call to radical commitment, the teaching of the Bible with quality and spiritual experience.
We also need a reformation of family life. I would recommend that every family become a reading culture. Children would start with books for their age, nourishing and good children’s books. Bible reading and teaching times should be established. We need to raise children and young adults who love reading. Times of worship where the children learn to pray and really experience God are essential. As they grow older, let that reading culture include the best spiritual books, great supernatural stories of missionaries, and great literature. Finally, I highly recommend leaving the public school system. If one does choose public school, the enormous task of daily debriefing and reteaching will be important. Will the child choose his teacher as having superior authority in knowledge over his parents? That would not be good. We can have discipled children and young adults with deep spiritual experience with Yeshua. There are two streams that generally keep all their young people. One is the Amish Christians who have a counter-cultural society. The other is Chabad Judaism, also a counter-culture. Both practice intense discipleship in their teaching and ways and a great separation from the larger society. We probably do not want to go as far as Chabad, but we have to weigh how to be a counterculture and have sufficient distance from the larger society to preserve the faith of our young.