8 Issues Youth in church want you to address - # 6 will shock you.
When it comes to the youth in the church, everyone has an opinion on how they should behave.
The parents hope to see their youth surrounded by good mentors, good Christian relationships, and a solid faith-based lifestyle.
The church leadership hopes to reach and shape their youth into great future leaders.
Pastors and spiritual leaders hope to instill a solid spiritual direction based on the word.
It’s like everyone has a to-do list for the youth in the church.
With a long checklist, don’t you think we need to add their needs to the list?
You probably say, “The youth don’t know what they want or need.” Right?
The truth is that we don’t know what we want later on what others need. We are all learners in the school of life trying to get to the next step in our Christian journey.
Over and over again, young people have been told that they don’t know what they need. That’s why parents choose their friends and career paths, while the church provides them with “relevant” spiritual guidance.
Even though all this is done with good intentions, we risk providing them with only things they should know and not what they need to advance to the next step in their Christian journey.
We need to strike a balance between teaching what they need to know and what they need to grow in their journey.
How do we know what the youth in the church need?
The answer is very simple; we have to eliminate guesswork and get the information straight from our young people in the church.
We ran a survey and collected about 200 responses from the youth from various churches, and in this article, we will cover some of the topics they want us to discuss.
Here is an entire article, “ what our youth think about the church,” a survey we conducted.
Table of Contents
- Mental Health
- Family and Relationships
- Sexuality - LGBTQ
- Climate Change
- Peer Pressure
- Dating and Marriage
- Parent-Child Communication
Topic # 1 - Racism
When it comes to racism, it’s easy to think that only black and brown people are affected.
The truth is that the youth in the church today ( all races) are more connected and unified than at any time in history.
The youth in the church today get along better than we did, and they’ve built strong friendships.
This means that when a group of people is mistreated based on race or sexual orientation, they all are adversely affected.
Now we have plenty of resources and information about racism online but not so much from the church. They ask, “What does the church say about racism?”
Above all, our young people want to know how to deal with people of other races and belief systems.
The church has to address racism because not doing so is leaving it up to the circular world to have the last and only say.
Racism topic was the number one suggested topic, and the church should address it.
Topic # 2 - Mental Health
Even after so many studies and talks about mental health, it’s still one of those areas most people do not want to go to.
Surprisingly, mental health was the second most requested topic from the survey.
Speaking as someone who grew up in a robust African Christian family where faith and education were the order of the day, mental health was unheard of.
Any sign of mental health issues was seen as weakness and beaten out of you.
I was expected to behave in a certain way and bring specific school grades home regardless of my abilities and learning style.
A few years ago, my wife was doing her Masters's in Social work, and I happened to browse through the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).
If you have not browsed through the DSM, please do so.
To keep the story short, I was depressed after reading the book because I checked off most of the diagnoses.
You see, mental health affects everyone somehow, and we need to be talking about it.
Our youth in the church today want us to address mental health mainly because they see their parents struggling with it.
Mental health was the second most popular topic suggestion, and we really need to address it.
You can start talking about mental health right away through digital summits.
We have an article to show you how to run a digital summit for churches
Topic # 3 - Family and Relationships 👩👩👧👦
The family and relationships topic made it to the survey's top 5 most requested topics.
About 20% of the people who suggested the topic of family and relationships went into detail to explain why.
One common concern is that communication with parents and church was one way. That means the adults get to control every aspect of the relationship.
For example, many young people did not like the type of sermons they were getting. They say that most sermons are geared toward adults and irrelevant to them.
When asked how they could solve this problem, the young people said having a variety of preachers would certainly solve this problem.
We must remember that church is family; for most young people, it’s the only place where they feel accepted and find meaningful relationships.
As leaders, we must teach and help shape our young people into responsible future leaders.
That means we must listen when they cry out because if we don’t, the circular world will listen and give them what they want.
Topic # 4 - Sexuality - LGBTQ 🏳️🌈
Sexuality is a complex and sensitive topic to talk about.
When I was growing up, we had several topics on abstinence, and those were some of the best discussions we ever had.
These days, it’s had to just talk about abstinence without going into other politicized topics.
A few months ago, a young lady approached me and asked me a question after a presentation.
She told me that her friend who grew up in church is no longer coming to church because she is gay, and she doesn’t want the church to judge her. She knows what the church thinks about people like her and doesn’t think she fits in anymore.
I don’t know about you, but this is a sad situation. I know the church is usually silent about this topic, but our silence communicates one thing.
Rejection - you don’t belong, etc.
Just like racism, our young people are affected when one of them is treated differently.
We have no choice but to address LGBTQ and sexuality. Our youth need to know where we stand. Most of all, we must show by example that God loves everyone and all are welcome.
Topic # 5 - Climate Change 🌪
What does the Bible say about climate change? Isn’t it part of stewardship?
One young man asked, “ why do you only teach us about tithe, returning what belongs to God, and not about taking care of our home that God has given us to manage?”
Is climate change a hoax, or is it real?
If the church is silent about climate change, then we are letting the internet form their opinion and how they perceive the world.
Topic # 6 - Pornography 📲
I was shocked to see pornography on the list. You would think that young people would hide this.
But the young people brought it up, and we must address it.
An average person is exposed to so much sex daily, from billboards to magazines, the Internet, etc.
Our young people are explorers; if your child has a cellphone, they are likely watching pornography. If you haven't caught them yet, they’ve mastered the art of hiding.
Pornography is a sensitive topic; most parents would rather pretend it’s not an issue for their children than talk about it.
The good news is that you do not have to discuss it, but you must find someone who can.
The internet allows the church to find experts to teach our children in this area. We can tap into their expertise through virtual summits; they are easy to do.
Topic # 7 - Addiction 💊
Regarding addiction, we were expecting it to be among the top 5 topics, but it looks like young people are less concerned about it than we are.
Addiction is a very broad topic; maybe that’s why it fell on number seven.
However, I am happy that it made it to the topics our young people want us to discuss.
Just like sex and mental health, you do not need experts in your church to address this topic. You can utilize the power of digital summits to find experts from anywhere in the world to help you.
The young people have spoken; it’s our move now.
Topic # 8 - Peer Pressure
Peer pressure is one of those topics we like to discuss with our young people, but we have no idea what they are going through.😄
When most of us were growing up, we had a very small peer pressure group, and we had choices. We went through a certain pressure at school and a different one at home or church.
That’s not the case these days. Our young people are going through a global peer pressure group. Take a moment to imagine that.
The worst thing is that they are pressured into cyberspace through devices they voluntarily carry.
Young people say parents don’t understand what they are going through, and maybe they are right. Maybe we are not the ones to talk to them about peer pressure because we have no idea. So we should turn to people who’ve gone through this cyber peer pressure to help.
My Final Thoughts
The reality is that every generation of young people complains about their parents not understanding them. I know I did.
The same things we complained about are the same things we do for our children. I would lie if I said I had an answer because I don’t.
Most of the time, I catch myself saying the same things I hated my parents saying. I wish I didn’t have to say them, but I am who I am today because they said and did what they did.
I am comforted knowing that if I did part of what my parents did, I would also help shape my children into responsible adults. The keyword here is part.
That means I must do it apart and leave room for them to show their personality. Therefore, my job is to observe and determine their needs.
Sometimes I am lucky when my kids tell me what they want because I am not good at guesswork.
Sometimes I use my intuition and experience to get the things I think they need, but I get disappointed when I find out otherwise.
Henry Form once said, “ If I had asked the people what they needed, they would have said faster horses.”
In most cases, people don’t know what they want later on what others need. We are just never too good at that.
That’s why I believe strongly that the church is in a position to impact so many lives by simply doing one thing - Asking people what they need.
If we don’t do that, we risk providing things people need to know to survive and not pushing them into the next step in their journey.
How can we encourage youth in church?
When you ask someone for their opinion or simply what they need, you tell them that they matter and you see them. Everyone wants to be seen.
The youth in the church want to be seen by their church leaders and their parents.
If we fail to see them and value their opinions and needs, other people will. So many people are paid a lot of money to SEE our young people and offer them terrible solutions.
The question you must answer today is, “Who do you want your children to be seen by?”
The church or the secular world?
The information presented here is only a tiny part of our collected information. If you want to run a similar survey for your church, please reach out anytime.
For more ideas, please read “How to get young people involved in ministry.”
Frequently asked questions
1. What are the significant issues facing the church today?
The church's major issues today are primarily related to the loss of younger generations.
In recent years, many churches have seen a decline in attendance among young adults and teenagers, resulting in an increasingly aging congregation.
This is a significant issue for many churches, affecting their immediate membership numbers and long-term sustainability. Additionally, issues such as racism, gender inequality, and LGBTQ+ inclusion remain significant in some churches.
These often cause tension within the congregation and can be challenging to address, but they must be addressed if the church is to remain relevant and open to all people.
2. How do you motivate youth in church?
Motivating youth in the church can be difficult, but it is one of the most important aspects of keeping young people engaged and interested in the church.
One of the first steps to motivating youth in the church is to create an environment that is welcoming and engaging.
Most young people in this age group are school students, so creating an inviting atmosphere with youth group activities, fun activities, and exciting music is crucial. Additionally, providing opportunities for youth to take on leadership roles and serve in the church or youth church can help to motivate them.
Another way is to have a dedicated youth pastor or leader focused on engaging and inspiring youth. This individual should help create an environment of acceptance, understanding, and fun.
Finally, listening to their ideas and input can further motivate youth by showing their opinions are valued and appreciated.
3. What are the challenges of youthful life?
One of the major challenges of youthful life in our Christian faith is finding a sense of purpose and direction. Young people often struggle to find their place in society and to make decisions about their future.
Though this is a common experience for many adolescents, it can become more difficult when faced with uncertain economic times, lack of financial security, or limited career options. Additionally, young people may face peer pressure or stress related.
4. Why is youth ministry hard?
Youth ministry can be hard for several reasons. First and foremost, young people often have very different interests and needs from those of older generations. As a result, it can be difficult to create programming or initiatives that appeal to the youth in the church while still resonating with the larger membership.
Additionally, many young people are navigating major life transitions and facing challenges such as changing relationships, academic pressures, and career decisions. This can make it difficult to relate to their struggles or offer meaningful support.
Finally, the changing nature of technology and social media can also be challenging when attempting to reach young people meaningfully.
5. What are the five social problems facing the church?
The five major social problems facing the church today are:
- An aging congregation;
- Racism and gender inequality;
- Lack of financial security;
- Peer pressure, stress, and mental health issues; and
- Changing technology and social media.
An aging congregation is a major issue affecting immediate membership numbers and long-term sustainability.
6. What are the three challenges to the church?
The three main challenges to the church are a lack of relevance, resources, and a changing landscape.
A lack of relevance refers to the difficulty in appealing to younger generations, who may have different interests and needs than the older generations that comprise most church members.
Additionally, churches often face a lack of resources, both financial and human, which can limit their ability to engage with their members and the surrounding community effectively.
Finally, the changing landscape of technology and social media can also be challenging as churches must learn to navigate new platforms and keep up with current trends to reach younger generations.
7. What is the biggest challenge facing the youth?
The biggest challenge facing youth today is finding a sense of purpose and direction. Many young people struggle to find their place in society and decide their future. This process can be further complicated by uncertain economic times, lack of financial security, or limited career options.
Additionally, peer pressure and stress can add to the difficulty of making these important choices. For this reason, it is critical for churches to provide support and guidance to young people as they seek to find their place in the world.