Die Zahl der »Nicht-Religiösen« hat sich in den USA innerhalb von zwanzig Jahren fast verdoppelt. Wahrscheinlich 70 Prozent der Jugendlichen verlassen ihre Gemeinden im Alter von 18 bis 22. Drew Dyck hat für CT einen Artikel über diesen Trend geschrieben und darin erste Antworten formuliert. Oft sind es unausgesprochene oder unbeantwortete Zweifel, die Jugendliche zur Ablehnung des christlichen Glaubens drängen.
At the 2008 American Sociological Association meeting, scholars from the University of Connecticut and Oregon State University reported that „the most frequently mentioned role of Christians in de-conversion was in amplifying existing doubt.“ De-converts reported „sharing their burgeoning doubts with a Christian friend or family member only to receive trite, unhelpful answers.“
Churches often lack the appropriate resources. We have programs geared for gender- and age-groups and for those struggling with addictions or exploring the faith. But there’s precious little for Christians struggling with the faith. But two recent books suggest this may be changing: Essential Church? Reclaiming a Generation of Dropouts, by Thom and Sam Rainer, and Lost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and the Churches That Reach Them, by Ed Stetzer. Both of these equip churches to reach disaffected people.
The answer, of course, lies in more than offering another program. Nor should we overestimate the efficacy of slicker services or edgy outreach. Only with prayer and thoughtful engagement will at least some of the current exodus be stemmed.
One place to begin is by rethinking how we minister to those from youth to old age. There’s nothing wrong with pizza and video games, nor with seeker-sensitive services, nor with low-commitment small groups that introduce people to the Christian faith. But these cannot replace serious programs of discipleship and catechism. The temptation to wander from the faith is not a new one. The apostle Paul exhorted the church at Ephesus to strive to mature every believer, so that „we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes“ (Eph. 4:14, ESV).
Es gilt immer noch, was Francis Schaeffer vor fünfzig Jahren forderte: Wir brauchen ehrliche Antworten auf ehrliche Fragen. Und es gibt einen großen Bedarf an solider biblischer Unterweisung in der Kinder- und Jugendarbeit!