I’m grateful to Girlz 4 Christ for publishing the original version of this post in their summer issue, because this topic is close to my heart. As a millennial, I’m saddened by the absence of my age group in the church. I don’t want that same trend to continue with the next generation.
Does church matter? It’s a fair question and one I hope you’ll think about. I welcome your feedback on this topic and encourage you to share it with your friends.
Perhaps it’s not even one you’ve considered. Maybe you’re a recent graduate or will be a junior or senior in the fall. You’re so busy with college applications and internship programs that the last thing on your mind is church and whether you’ll keep going when you move away from home.
If that describes you, you’re not alone. Studies show that most young adults who drop out of church never intended to stop going; they just weren’t intentional about it. As a result, 70% of teens between 17-19 years old leave the church, some to return later, some to return never.[i]
So let’s be intentional today. Does church matter? God’s Word reveals that it does, because it plays several important roles in our lives.
#1: A Place to Gather
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)
Face it. We need encouragement in our daily walk with the Lord, and we aren’t going to find it in a world that loves darkness more than light (John 3:19).
The church provides a meeting place where we believers can encourage and comfort one another (I Thess. 5:11). It’s a place where we can share our burdens and where correction and restoration can take place (Galatians 6:1-2).
The size, shape, or location of the church doesn’t matter. What matters is that church provides a place for like-minded believers to gather.
#2: A Place to Grow and Worship
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16 ESV)
Sitting under the preaching of God’s Word is critical to our spiritual success. We need to know what we believe and why we believe it so that we can always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks us about our eternal hope (I Peter 3:15). Our personal devotions and Bible studies are vital to our growth–and I certainly hope you set apart time each day to talk with God and read His Word–but this time is not intended to replace Bible teaching in God’s house.
Attending church also implies intentional worship. Yes, you can worship in your car, at a sunrise service or at a concert; but church provides regularity of worship. Other places and methods can certainly complement it.
Next week, we’ll look at two more reasons church matters. Until then, I challenge you to talk to your peers about this topic. Some possible opening questions to start the conversation could be:
- Why will you stay in church even if your peers leave?
- Why do you think teens leave the church, and are their reasons valid in light of God’s Word?
- How has church made a difference in your life?
I welcome your comments below.
[i] Ed Stetzer, “Dropouts and Disciples: How many students are really leaving the church?” Christianity Today, May 14, 2014, http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/may/dropouts-and-disciples-how-many-students-are-really-leaving.html.