Over the years a number of articles have appeared suggesting varied reasons as to why our younger members are departing from the church. Some have suggested that they are doing so because we are not addressing the so-called “issues that are real in their world.” More recently, there has been quite a bit of discussion concerning their departure due to the alleged “failure” of many congregations to keep abreast with modern technology and social interaction and connection. One author actually suggested that “the greatest need for people today in their 20s is the need for social interaction and social connection.”

Needless to say, this is not true! As it has been since the first century, “the greatest need for people today in their 20s” (30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and so on, R.W.S.) is the gospel, because it is the “power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). Why is it that it has only recently been the case that twenty-year olds “greatest need” is “social interaction and connection”? Given the fact that God supplied “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3), in the first century, how was it that He missed this “all important” element? Since man (inclusive of twenty-year olds) can become “perfect” by God’s inspired Word (2 Timothy 3:16, 17), how is it that there is that “all important element” of “social interaction and connection” missing if it really is the “greatest need”? If such is really the case, does it seem logical that God somehow overlooked this matter when providing us with His inspired Word?

So, what am I getting at with this article? Am I opposed to technology and “social interaction and connection within the church?” Of course not! Is the New Testament opposed to such? Once again, of course not! But to suggest that such is “the greatest need” for any group of people at any point in time is ridiculous! The relevancy of God’s Word to such issues as “social interaction and connection” is evident. As already noted, it provides us with “all things” relative to “life and godliness”. With Peter’s words in mind, would not “social interaction and connection” fall within the category of “life issues”?

The truth of the matter is simply this; we now live in a world that has been experiencing a decline in morality and spirituality for some time. With this worldwide decline comes a similar spiritual decline within the Body of Christ. One needs only to type in “Spiritual decline in America” on any given internet search engine to find hundreds of web sites that provide incontrovertible evidence of the degree of decline in our society today. As it was in Old Testament times, the truth is, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalms 11:3).

The facts are evident; our spiritual decline is seen in almost every direction we turn when the “foundations” of our faith are examined. God’s Word is not studied or revered as it once used to be. We (both 20 year olds and older) spend more time playing video games, fantasy football, and other things of this nature than working out our salvation (Philippians 2:12). I recall the young man who said he “hoped to read the Bible through one time in his life.” No wonder he has no idea what the “good Book” says! David “hid” God’s Word in his heart so that he “might not sin against him” (Psalms 119:11). The Bereans were commended by God because they “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11), verifying the truth of what they were taught. We have succeeded in our Bible Classes to teach our young people the “stories of old”, but we have miserably failed to properly teach them “the faith” that has once, and for all time, been delivered to man (Jude 3). They have not been grounded, and as such may soon be led astray by every “wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14) while they seek to have their “ears tickled” by the “fables” taught them by the false teachers of the day (2 Timothy 4:3, 4).

Far too many of us (both young and old) have no idea how to defend or teach the truth! Bibles lay on car seats and coffee tables while we fail to “bring our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). In many homes the Bible has become nothing more than miniature file cabinets where we file away an occasional obituary, poem or other important paper. We keep the “Family Record” up to date, but we fail to frequently and intelligently “search the scriptures” in order to know the Lord and His will for us (John 5:39). If “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” and it does (Romans 10:17), then is there any doubt why our foundation of faith is so weak when we seldom or ever really study to show ourselves “approved unto God” (2 Timothy 2:15)?

We have become a people more intent on “will worship” (Colossians 2:23) than those who seek to worship God in “spirit and truth” as prescribed by Scripture (John 4:24). We want it “our way” like the hamburger jingle (“Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us.”). We are sensitive to a world bent on being placated by “user friendliness”. We pack up our “marbles” and go elsewhere if the older, already established congregation doesn’t “cave in” to our wishes. Like spoiled brats, we kick and scream to get our way, and when that doesn’t happen, we “move on down the road” where what we want will be the norm. We don’t ask for Biblical authority. We have no idea that the following words are found within Scripture, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name (i.e. by His authority, R.W.S) of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” (Colossians 3:17). Hearing someone ask for a “thus saith the Lord” today is like searching for the proverbial “needle in the haystack.”

Young or old who know and love the truth, and who revere it as such, will not be lead astray simply because a congregation has not kept up “with the times” when it comes to technology. They understand that it is the “truth” that saves (John 8:32), and that it is God’s Word that is the “truth” (John 17:17). Young people who are leaving the church for the Community Churches, etc., of our day are not doing so because of the lack of technology or “social interaction and connection”. They are leaving because they have no idea what the Lord’s church is, what it teaches, and the fact that salvation is found only within the Lord and His church (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 2:47). They see the church like a social gathering whose purpose is to make them feel good about themselves, no matter how they are living. When they don’t get that “warm fuzzy” feeling worshiping with a sound congregation of the Lord’s people they will move on until they find what they are looking for.

It is past time we stop blaming sound congregations over the spoiled antics of those who know little or nothing of the truth. My children worshipped in mud huts in Africa for a number of years on a regular basis. Never once did they see the need to leave the church because it had not kept up with the times and incorporated modern technology and “touchy-feely” times of “social interaction and connection”. They loved the truth, and they loved the church. And no matter how many times they had to swat flies away, sit on hard mud brick “pews”, and “bake” in the sweltering heat of East Africa, they are better for it. If you don’t believe me, ask them.