I have always been a church boy. But somewhere across the years (in my mid 20’s), I stopped going to church for close to 4 years. The reason was this: there was a loud dissonance between what I was taught in the temple and the realities in my life. I knew God as taught in the temple and by my mother, but He wasn’t real to me. Jesus Christ was simply a historical figure I got to know better in Christian movies (Jesus movie). And for the Holy Spirit, I didn’t even understand who He was. In my confusion, I leaned on God to teach me.
There are many like my former self in the church today. Unfortunately for them, they are surrounded by anti-God advocates and skeptics with the ability to drive one into apostasy by using logical reasoning to make nonsense of one’s religious belief. Studies have shown that millennials (born between 1981 -1996) and Gen Zs (1997-2012) are becoming less religious. The meaning of “less religious” in the context of the research includes not going to church but believing in a superior being, not believing in the existence of God at all, a different understanding of what church means, a preference for spirituality, and so on (Pew Research). How can the church as an organized religion, an institution of spiritual formation, a catalyst for character development and social change sustain its relevance to a generation that is gradually losing interest in its religious activities and dogma?
If I may ask you a question, what is your worldview? Let me put it this way, how do you understand the world. For some of us, If we would be honest with ourselves, we paused a little bit to give it a thought, but before we could organize our thoughts we realized that we do not know what to think. Unfortunately, your worldview is the lens through which you understand the world and make decisions between right or wrong, and good or evil. Millennials and Gen Zs are faced with a plethora of worldviews to choose from in a world where utilitarianism reigns.
This generation is situated in a multicultural context where technology has made access to information as easy as a click or a switch. We are exposed to indoctrination when we switch on the television or click on our social media icons. Over time our understanding of life has been corrupted by what we see in our music videos, movies, and adverts. The cognitive psychology of this generation is by large opposed to the instruction in 1 Timothy 6:10. Given the global economic hardship we are faced with, it is just logical that many have become lovers of themselves seeking their selfish gains at the expense of others.
We are virtually in the jungle and it is a “survival of the fittest” situation. It will surely become worse in the near future. What this implies is that the primary concern of our youth is to be successful in life, where success means making money. The preaching is great, but strategic teaching of truth will help us develop a strong worldview consistent with Scripture. We have a deficit of true Pastors who concern themselves with shepherding the youth. Simony is depleting our human resources and replacing them with stomach-led shepherds. Evangelism is great, but discipleship is the heart of the command so that reconciliation can be effected. The solution is in Discipleship; a tailored discipleship structure cooked in prayer and a strong understanding of our time according to scriptural revelation and learned knowledge.