About a year ago, enormously popular “post-evangelical” blogger Rachel Held Evans wrote an essay for CNN called, “Why Millennials Are Leaving the Church.” It went viral. Since then, increasing numbers of Christians have lept to action, frantically trying to solve the problem. Since millennials are allegedly leaving the church, it follows that they are not getting what they want. In the last several years, evangelicals across the western world have had meetings, written articles, and conducted studies to discover what it is that millenials want. The evangelical community seems largely poised to do whatever it takes to entice the younger generation to attend church.
However, something is terribly wrong with this approach. In truth, a few things are wrong. First of all, it is not entirely accurate to say that “millennials are leaving the church.” According to George Barna, six in ten churched members of this age group walk away from the faith they were raised in. However, that still leaves four out of ten, and since millennials are an enormous group, that four represents a large number. Therefore, a substantial set of millennials remain in the church. To act as though millennials are absent from the pews is simply an overreaction at best, and disingenuous at worst.
Why does God allow so many of us to experience deep forms of depression to the point of despair, and how do we counsel those in our lives who struggle with the torture of the soul? How can pastors be better prepared to recognize symptoms of mental disorder and what can churches do to help those who struggle with this issue? Joining Mike to discuss this issue are Kathryn Greene-McCreight, author of Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness, and Harold Senkbeil, author of Dying to Live, and board member of Doxology: The Lutheran Center for Spiritual Care and Counsel.
Are today’s churches prepared to handle issues related to mental illness? How should Christians help those struggling with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, or various types of learning disabilities? On this program, Michael Horton discusses this important and often avoided issue with Amy Simpson, who is an editor at Christianity Today and the author of Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission.
If you visit a typical youth program at an average evangelical church, you’ll no doubt observe a number of fun and entertaining activities. Yet most Christian teens are ignorant about the basic message of Scripture, and most statistics show that a great majority of them will abandon church after high school. On this program, Michael Horton discusses this issue with special guest Brian Cosby, author of Giving Up Gimmicks: Reclaiming Youth Ministry from an Entertainment Culture (original air date, May 6, 2012).