The Jesus Survey
Whether teens ask aloud the questions ‘Who am I?’ or ‘What do I believe in?’, seeking the answers to them is indeed the sole preoccupation of their adolescent existence.
And as they seek to become whoever they think they should be, much of what they were taught by their parents, the church and school get swept off the proverbial table of what is most important to them.
This is alarming, but at the same time, it is no surprise to God. There is a beautiful plan of redemption and the promise is clear... out of the ashes will rise the beautiful Bride of Christ. And, keep in mind, every generation has a remnant that rises up and brings forth revival.
‘Who am I?’ --most all teens on their way to adulthood
The Jesus Survey, a landmark study of modern teens in church youth groups across 24 states in 2010, by veteran youth pastor Mike Nappa of YouthMinistries.com, found that, sadly, even churched-teens really don’t know Jesus.
They may not know about the Jesus of the Bible, but Jesus knows them. The good news is that Jesus teaches, "It's not that you know or chose me, it's important to know that I chose you before you were formed and I love you just the way you are."
If Jesus remained important to modern teens at all over the course of their adolescence, The Jesus Survey showed that the Jesus they said they knew and believed in was not quite the same as the Jesus of the Bible.1
However, Jesus is revealing Himself to the youth of America today like never before, and like Jesus, He's doing it in a whole new and beautiful way. There is a new season upon us and you can't put old wine into new wineskins. The point is, let's place our faith on Jesus, and not our rebellious teens.
Meaning, if you are a parent of a troubled girl, don't fret and don't worry. Instead, pray and thank God for His grace and fulfilled promises. He's still in charge and what He has started, He will finish!
“Most Christian teens don’t have traditional beliefs!” --Mike Nappa, The Jesus Survey
90% of the more than 800 Christian teenagers surveyed, said they had significant doubts in the basic tenets of "modern" Christianity. In this case, "doubt" is not necessarily bad. Remember, Jesus Himself rejected the religious order of His day.
We believe that some doubt is natural and normal, and we hope our youth challenge the status quo and come to form their own belief, based on their own truth and experience as a believer.
In the Bible, we find all kinds of examples where God uses "doubt" as a catalyst to bring forth radical spiritual growth.
83% of those claimed they had been Baptists. 95% claimed to have been Methodists. 99% claimed to have been Catholic. And 100% of all Lutherans, Episcopalians, and the United Church of Christ surveyed claimed the same. 1
Only 31% of all Christian teens surveyed reported they confidently believed what the Bible teaches about Jesus. And 60% said they were still uncertain or unsettled about the trustworthiness of the Bible in general. 1
What we are finding is that today's teens are not rejecting Christ, they are rejecting the religion of their parents and instead, they are seeking their own relationship with Jesus, on their terms.
“Few Christian teenagers Read the Bible.” --Mike Nappa, The Jesus Survey
When it comes to Jesus and salvation and is the only path to Heaven, 39% expressed confidence that that is true, while 13% said most definitely it was not true. More than 61% of those teens surveyed said they would not commit to the belief that Jesus saves sinners. 1
The most surprising finding of the survey and most hopeful is that many teens said they felt strongly about telling the world about Jesus. 84% said such was their responsibility as Christians.
The good news is that they are seeking a true and righteous relationship with God, and as parents, we should be relieved. Therefore, as it comes to our child's Salvation, we put our faith in God anyway, and not in our Child.
Like many generations before, God has an answer and a plan. We are confident that out of the ashes of the "modern Christianity culture" will come the true Church with the simple message of Love.
And, we believe that out of the ashes the church will come through the ill-informed youth! Yes! Remember, Jesus chose the 12 disciples, and none of them were chosen because of their talent or skills, or faith. They were chosen because of their inherent fleshly flaws and a sincere need for a Savior - Jesus did it all!
1 “The Jesus Survey,” by Mike Nappa, YouthMiinistries.com, 2010.