We all fight against the tendency to appear more Christian than we are. Perhaps no place is this pressure felt more acutely than in the cauldron of adolescent insecurity found in youth groups and Christian schools. It is often far easier to default into reading from the Christian script that we are expected to recite than to ask questions, voice doubts, or confess failures.
Over at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission blog, Alan Noble tells the story of his experience in a youth group culture that prized entertaining youth and encouraging them to appear Christian over engaging substantively with the difficult aspects of life in a fallen world. He explains that his youth group culture was driven by two primary needs:
1. The need to be more on fire for the Lord
2. The need to stop sinning.
“I was a spectacular failure at both,” Noble confesses, leading him to default to posturing and pretense.
Noble suggests that what we really need is a youth church culture that is driven by a willingness to engage the hard issues of life (depression, anxiety, lust, etc.) without sugar-coating them, and an emphasis not on our ability to muster up the strength to be good Christians, but on the finished work of Christ on our behalf. I encourage you to read the whole piece over at the ERLC BLOG HERE.