do young people need church?

Updated: May 5, 2020

Dear young person in the church,

I hope you will stay.

I know how it feels to question if the church is right for you, because I’ve done it myself. I know how overwhelming it can be to try and witness to someone from a secular background. I know how hard it is to read scientific articles about biology or health and be told that evolution is fact. I know what it’s like to lay awake questioning the validity of the Bible.

I hope you will stay.

I’ve been judged in the church. I’ve worn a dress that was a little too short. I’ve put on a little too much makeup. My ears are pierced. I have been told that I don’t know anything. I’ve been told that my opinion doesn’t matter. I’ve been scoffed at. I’ve been reprimanded for being too outspoken. I’ve been bullied.

I still hope you will stay.

Now, I’m certainly not asking you to stay if you’ve done your own Bible study and you find a truth that does not align with the fundamentals of your church family. I would never expect someone to stay in a religion they don’t believe in or worship a God they don’t think exists. Instead I’m speaking to those of us who become exhausted by the cultural and hypocritical aspects that are undeniable in our church today.

I hope you will stay.

Walking away will not satisfy you. You are valid in your feelings- I’m sure you wouldn’t be leaving if you weren’t justified. Sure, in the moment it’s going to feel really good. Who doesn’t love that, “I’ll show them!” Feeling. You will find other young people who have left and it will feel great to commiserate. It will be a relief to not feel so judged every time you sit down in a pew. But what happens after that? Leaving is a one-time event. How will you live the next x years of your life?

I hope you will stay.

Yes, there are other churches or religions out there who will welcome you with open arms. I am certainly not one to judge who is going to heaven based on their church attendance (or any aspect of their lives for that matter). But what will you do when they start promoting something you don't agree with? What will you do when the things they support are the opposite of what you believe? You can only go for so long before you start to feel alone and confused once again.

I hope you’ll stay, because I need you.

Believe it or not, there are still young people like you in the church! I am one of them. There are people here who want to change the negative aspects of our congregations. We want to prove to other generations that our thoughts and inspirations are worthy of being heard. Most of all, we want to connect with other people our age who can relate to the struggles we face as young people both in and out of the church. Who are these hypocritical church members and leaders that they should have enough power to push you out of YOUR church family? Instead of blaming the members who hurt us for our suffering, we must blame the devil himself- the one who really deserves our wrath.

I hope you’ll stay because you can be the change.

You might not think so at this point, but you need a church family. In this time of doubt, turn to the Bible. 1 Corinthians 1:10 says that there is to be no division among us. Honestly the entire book of Corinthians gives excellent guidance when it comes to the value of a church body and its unity. Just as mentioned in Ecclesiastes 4:12, a chord of three strands is stronger together. There is a lot of good in the church. I know its hard to see it, but I promise it is there. Let go of the bitter emotions (Ephesians 4:31). Choose a heart of forgiveness... even if the church that hurt you doesn’t “deserve” it. We are all sinners and we have all fallen short.

I hope you will stay.

Take ownership. I’m not saying it will be easy, but with God’s guidance you can help the church improve. Think about all the great people in history who stood up for what they believed in, and imagine where we would be if they hadn’t. Rosa Parks could have exited the bus. Gandhi could have fled from India. Christ Himself could have gone back to heaven after being ridiculed. But He didn’t.

I hope you will stay.

The time for young men to dream dreams (Acts 2:17) is upon us. There is a passion, a vigilance, and an energy that comes from being a young person and it is vital to the success of our ministry in the last days on earth. You are a weapon, you are a leader, you are a necessity in spiritual warfare. Stand up for what you believe in! Do not look to earthly people or things for your confidence in God. They will always disappoint you. Instead, rise up to the challenge of strengthening the church as we enter into a new time of revival!

God is calling you. He hopes you will stay.


One who stayed

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