State Of Emergency… The Children In American Churches

Lately I have spent time preaching to and praying with Christian young people. Ministering to young people and conversing with pastors, parents, and youth leaders has brought a sense of alarm to me. I realize every generation has it’s own quirks and uniqueness. My generation was characterized by rebellion and wildness. Every era brings a new set of strengths and weaknesses. While the problems we faced were real, the wide-spread apathy that has captured this generation is alarming!

Perceived Comments (Observations)

  1. Not long ago I spent an entire week preaching to young people. Hardly any had an open countenance, much less a bright/cheerful countenance. The in spark in their eyes was absent. It reminded me of the blank stare of victims raised in a defeated socialist ghetto.
  2. Some are prone to the dark side and most go through seasons of discouragement. But the malaise among students today is epidemic. I am not speaking about those in public schools, but those coming from Christian homes.
  3. I wonder if the widespread Dulness and Depression is largely due to Defilement via the internet?

Possible Causes

  1. Media Addiction. The Paradigm Adolescent Treatment Center wrote, “Teen Social Media Addiction is a behavioral disorder in which teens become so preoccupied and obsessed with social media that it distracts them from engaging in the real world, and in turn, causes harmful effects on multiple aspects of their lives.  While many teenagers engage in some form of social media (including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Vine, Snapchat, and video games) and consider it a daily part of their lives, Teen Social Media Addiction is characterized by the level of this use being so extreme that it negatively affects the relationships and responsibilities in the teens’ lives.” Researchers believe that prolonged periods of exposure to blue computer screens cause the brain to manufacture cortisol which contributes to depression.
  2. Children who grow up in affluent homes are given everything by their parents. Poor children are given everything for free by their government. Neither set has been taught or required to work.
  3. Unengaged Parents. Two income families are the norm. Many of these are by choice, rather than necessity. Scores would rather pay someone to do for money what they are unwilling to do for love. So the children are “farmed out” to the youth group or Christian School. The sense of aloneness and rejection by absentee parents is devastating.
  4. Excessive age-segregation. Secular research has shown that children who spend more time with peers than adult role models experience severe problems.
  5. Imbalanced Theology. Many churches have a strong theology of depravity and a very weak theology of victory.  Bombarded with a continual barrage of “sin-talk” and a weak emphasis on the inner power to overcome temptation breeds introspection. Roman’s  chapters 6 and 8, Ephesians 3, and other portions must be emphasized and PRACTICED. The word “Gospel” means GOOD NEWS. Find a church that celebrates the Christ-life and enjoys the presence of God. Ingrown, institutional, and introspective congregations encourage no excitement over Kingdom causes.

Potential Cures

  1. Children should not be given SMART phones. What spiritually sane parent would give their young child unrestricted access to the internet? Do you really think teenagers are researching the Ten Commandments in their bedrooms late on Saturday night? Cyber accountability is mandatory in shepherding the hearts of children.
  2. Shepherding Parents. Parents cannot tolerate disrespect. Children must be taught to respect authority and other human beings. The “hands-off” approach toward parenting must be repudiated. Take back the ownership of, responsibility for, and the control of your family. You are responsible and your teaching and input is absolutely essential.
  3. Many want to contribute and make a difference, so we must mentor them on the subject of life purpose. Help them ascertain their Assignment. Lead them “in the way they should go.” Involve your family in serving the Lord by serving others.
  4. Surface emotional relationships and intellectual preaching are not enough. This current generation is relational. Parents must get “in touch” with their children. Genuine concern and heart-felt affection are still key in building meaningful relationships. Reaching into this generation requires relational interaction. And reaching students from unsaved homes requires heart-level involvement.
  5. Physical Work. Personal responsibility must be taught. Chores and meaningful work provides a sense of accomplishment and builds self-confidence.

Statistics show that the vast majority of children from Christian homes walk away from the faith when they turn eighteen. Continuing the current path will guarantee similar outcomes. A better result will require a different approach. Our children and grandchildren need us to be on fire for God. Let’s blaze a new trail instead of promulgating the proven path that invariably leads to failure.

1 Comment

  1. Tony ChildsMay 2, 2018

    Hello Mr. Vaughn,

    I appreciate your article and wholeheartedly agree that our children are tempted by all the trimmings that our technology based culture has to offer. This has been the topic of conversation many times during lunch at church or with co-workers. As a father of six children whose ages range from 27 to 13, we share your concern and have done the following since the day they were born:

    No television. Many people equate no TV in the house as extremism but I don’t. The TV does not have as much positive influence as it does negative. At the tender ages, the children simply are not aware of all the irrational behaviors that popular culture gets wrapped up in.

    Read scripture. Our routine is daily bible reading and prayer in the morning, and reading, prayer and singing hymns at the end of the day. There are a thousand different ways mom and dad can set this up but the key is to just do it. After a period of time they will come to expect it and things seem “off” if it doesn’t happen.

    When our children get to about 18 or 19 they get smartphones. We really battle with this. The temptations of popular culture are not completely avoidable and I guess it would be wrong for us as parents to make the permanent avoidance of it our goal. Sooner or later they have to make decisions on how to navigate in the mainstream of society. Sometimes it is scary and even disappointing.

    Thanks again for your article and reading my thoughts!

    Tony Childs
    Mt. Airy, NC


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Harold Vaughan

View posts by Harold Vaughan
Evangelist Harold Vaughan is the founder of Christ Life Ministries, Inc. To date, his ministry has led him to preach in forty-eight states and many foreign countries. Click on "ABOUT" in the menu bar to learn more about Harold.
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