Young Christians: 3 Strengths and Weaknesses
Every generation of the Church has its strengths and weaknesses, characteristics than can propel the gospel forward with force or hinder the progress of the Spirit’s work. I recently shared with a retirement community what I view are the three most prominent strengths and weaknesses found among young people (ages 18-30) in the Church today. The elderly folks were receptive and thankful for the insight, but did struggle with what they could do about it. As always, the most significant thing we can do is commit these matters to prayer and leave it up to God.
1. Young Christians are becoming gospel-centered.
They desire to break down the walls that unnecessarily divide Christians and unite around the Great Commission and the glory of God, our central common point. We see this coming about primarily in the removal of denominational labels and the cooperation of local churches.
2. Young Christians emphasize God’s mission.
There is a growing desire among young people to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. In large part, gone are the days of the “Sunday Christian”. A new – and Biblical – emphasis on living out our faith 24/7 has been ushered in. Young people are getting better at connecting with non-Christians in ways that allow them to demonstrate and proclaim the gospel.
3. Young Christians have genuine concern for the needy.
Social involvement among young Christians has skyrocketed in recent years. The young Church is mobilizing to help the poor, the broken, the abused, the abandoned, the neglected, the sick, and the lonely. God’s love is being extended in practical ways and is spreading world-wide.
1. Young Christians struggle with pride.
Like every other generation, young Christians act like they know it all. They are seemingly able to spot the faults of their elders and improve upon them. While this can be a good thing, if not done with a humble heart it can be very destructive. Young people need to remember that our elders have years of experience on us and while they too are sinners, they may have a thing or two to teach us.
2. Young Christians don’t always emphasize personal holiness.
In an effort to combat the previous generation’s fundamentalist attitude, young Christians rally under the banner of “freedom in Christ”. They are seeking liberation from unbiblical standards of moral behaviour. This primarily manifests in how young Christians engage with media and culture: they way they dress, the language they use, the movies they watch, the music they listen to etc. Unfortunately, this freedom in Christ is sometime more like “freedom from assessment”, and so many young people fail to check their hearts or pray through their daily activities. They often use their freedom as an excuse not to think through the implications of their level of personal holiness.
3. Young Christians often put relationship above truth.
Going back to strength one, young people are seeking to build bridges with as many people as possible. In doing so, however, they can sometimes compromise on the truth. The rise of “many path’s to God” thinking is the result of putting relationship above truth. While Christians should definitely seek to connect meaningfully with others, we also need to make a bold stand for the truth. Therefore, we must draw lines in our interaction with others particularly when it involves a co-mingling of religions.