Young Men are Looking for Answers Everywhere but the Church
*David* (not his real name) is in his mid-twenties. He grew up in the church but rarely if ever attends now. Like many in his generation, upon 'gaining his freedom' from home, he left the church.
In David's case, it wasn't a matter of truth or untruth, though that should matter, it was more an issue of seeking meaning and answers.
'I'm getting closer to thirty now and just tired of wasting my life gaming, hanging out with my friends who are just drifting through life. Some of them still live at home. I've been at (names job) this place for about a year, and it's my third job since I graduated from college. I had no dating life because I was always broke and I really didn't get what the rules were for dating. Nothing made sense to me.
And then I found Jordan Peterson on Youtube. Then I started listening to Joe Rogan and Jocko Willink. There's this guy, David Goggins, a former SEAL. THey were all talking about important things. Discipline. Goals. Sacrifice. Dealing with pain and how to toughen up. Giving your best. Personal responsibility. That changed everything for me. '
When asked about his family of origin, *David* simply said: 'I love my dad. Love my mom, but honestly, we never talked about those things at home unless they were yelling at me. They didn't explain things. I know they did their best. I think they did. They probably did the best with what they knew and I'll probably make mistakes too. I think my parents were more concerned with me being happy and being my friend than they were giving me direction. When they got frustrated they would try to, but I think they wanted me to like them more than anything. My brother and sister and I, honestly, kind of ran the house. There really wasn't a lot of consistent discipline or direction.
When asked about the church and Christ, *David* flatly said, 'We went to so many churches because my brother and I were always bored. Didn't see the point. It's like church was made mostly for women or something. There were some cool things we did in some of the youth groups. Camps were usually fun, but you kind of outgrow that stuff.'
This is tragic.
The New Stoics (my term) of Willink and Goggins (former SEALS) and the new spiritual gurus (Peterson and Rogan) have a huge following. Look up their podcasts. Youtube them.
What they are saying is not all bad. In fact, much of it is good to an extent. The problem is: Christianity addresses these issues. The sad thing is, the church typically hasn't for fear of losing people with such talk.
Personal responsibility. Work ethic. Discipline. Order. Purpose. Meaning, and all are far greater and profound than what these popular influencers are saying.
There has been a near silence on many of these issues for quite some time in American churches. Men have abandoned the post in their home as spiritual leader, not growing and maturing and leading and modeling for their sons. It's not just a young adult crisis, it is a family crisis.
It is also one of the many reasons we are rethinking and changing youth ministry (and soon children's minsitry) to include family ministry: we want to train families how to grow in Christ, set God-honoring goals and to live the lives God calls them to, not settle for cultural lies and for bread and circuses in attractional model churches, designed to draw and entertain and keep 'happy,' but not necessarily develop leadership and maturity across the board, strong disciples who can stand in this New Dark Age of Secularism.
We are going back to the basics. There is great excitement. It is a holy time. While I applaud many of these men for some of the things they are saying to our youth and young adults ('make your bed, cut your hair and get to work! Take responsibility.') we need to be the ones leading in this area, not the culture. Whenever we outsource anything to the culture, we end up with a mess.
Pray for our parents and youth as we continue to move forward together. What God is doing here is something profound and unique. I believe long-term it will be strong and sustainable and will be used by God to develop mature, strong, followers of Christ (and families) who can stand firmly in this emerging age.
Our young people are looking for answers, and if we are honest, so are many of their parents. Together, we will grow and learn and become and it is our prayer that above all, God is glorified in us and through us and uses us to transform lives and families.
Yes, there is another crisis taking place with young females as well, and like young men, many are looking in all the wrong places. We'll address that next time. For now, together, men and women, husbands and wives, young people and young adults, we will study, pray, learn and grow together.
The Answers are found in the life Christ calls us to.
Grace to You,