In case you haven’t noticed, your kids don’t like going to church with you. They’re bored out of their minds. Many of those teens who do attend can’t wait to move from out under your scrutinizing gaze. Just wait and see. Give your graduate just two or three months away at university, and they’re gone. That’s because they’ve been gone for a long time, only you never knew it. There are books and studies wholly devoted to this Western Christian tragedy, such as Ham’s book, Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it.
We as parents want so desperately to impart our faith on our children. I know that I do. I naively believe just because I live out my faith in daily life that my beliefs will be my children’s beliefs and that my God will be their God. But, personal experience proves it just ain’t so, just ask my mom.
I was raised in a God fearing home. I learned the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I studied the Lutheran catechism, learning that by faith alone is one saved. I followed all the rules, a dutiful daughter, a disciplined student, and a model citizen. I appeared to love God, country and family with all my heart, just a couple of problems, freedom is intoxicating and human hearts are easily led astray. Only two months at The Ohio State University and I was caught up in the excitement and freedom of campus living, a way of life that had nothing to do with God let alone the beliefs of my parents. A new exciting world had opened up before me and I was diving in head first – no toe-dipping for me.
The great big world had proclaimed its message of freedom to me. No more oppression, no more imposed rules, no more boring, irrelevant church or stained glass Jesus. This captive had been set free. The “world” had made new proselyte. Who once lived as found, now was lost and loving it.
Now as a parent of four boys, ages 16, 14, 12 and 10, I can’t help but wonder, “What will become of my children’s faith?” Will they flee the church as I once did? What will happen to them as they venture out on their own? Will they too plunge head long into the thrilling darkness of campus living? Are they biding their time awaiting their jail break? Ponder that.
Whether you know it or not, the world is proclaiming its “good news” to our young collegiates. The world says, “You are free. You are no longer are bond to the rules and traditions of your family. Knowledge will enlighten you and set you free from your ancestral bonds. Look how shiny and dazzling this place is. There is nothing that you cannot accomplish or experience.”
Wake up. Your children are captives. They are either imprisoned by your parental rules and obligations or by the delights of the world. They are enslaved and oppressed by you, mom and dad. They are blinded by the dazzling beauty of this world. They have been caught – hook, line and sinker.
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15
And the truth shall set them free…
Even if the youth hear the truth, will they understand? If they understand, will they even care? Is ”truth” still all they need to be set free? Today experience is desired more than truth or knowledge. This was also true in the 1960′s. People were fed up with their parents ways and the oppression of the established systems. The young were sick to death of the truth, or so it seemed. The Beatles said it best, “All you needed was love,” coupled with a sweet joint, good friends and some occasional LSD. Experience life in the moment, no strings, no regrets. Put a flower in your hair.
Who will set the captives free? This is a good question. I wish I had a good answer. Perhaps, we could look to the 60′s – to the Jesus Movement. Out of that movement, a young hippie stepped forth to proclaim the good news. His name was Lonnie Frisbee. He was empowered by the Spirit to set the youth free from the slavery of LSD, eastern mysticism, the occult, and the other captors of the day.
Lonnie was a flawed young man, who had a drug history and an secretive struggle with homosexuality, yet God still used him in powerful ways. His ministry of“kerygma” cut the youth of the day to the “quick,” as evidenced by mass baptisms. He proclaimed the good news and the youth rejoiced in it. They were convicted and repented and came to Jesus.
Calvary Chapel and Vineyard both have strong historical ties with Frisbee. At Calvary, Frisbee proclaimed Christ and Chuck Smith equipped the converts. A new denomination rose from their combined ministerial gifting. Not only was Lonnie a key leader in establishing Calvary Chapel, but he was deeply involved in growing Vineyard. Both evangelical church movements are tied heavily to the ministry of the charismatic Frisbee, who was empowered to supernaturally proclaim truth and to reveal freedom to those who so desperately longed for liberty.
In this clip Lonnie gives a testimony. His soft spoken demeanor and the authencity of his message reached into the longing hearts of the hippie generation. He proclaimed Christ. Those deemed too far gone and lost came into a relationship with Jesus. Witness what joy that young movement exuded.
So I started telling other people. I wanted everybody to experience the experience of Jesus Christ. That when I first got turned on to doing drugs, I thought that was the truth and so I turned others onto drugs. But when I found the real truth, I really started spreading the gospel. It didn’t all happened with a big gigantic crash of thunder and lightening and then I was enlightened, but it was listening to his voice through his word as he spoke to me and then being obedient to what I read and obedient to His Spirit, as he led me these series of what seemed to be coincidences in my life started happening in my life and there became so many coincidences that I realized that wasn’t anymore room for coincidence. I started telling everybody about Jesus, and that resulted in I lost everybody. I lost my parents and my brothers and my friends, all my friends they just left me. They marked me off as a fanatic. And I was crazy and I flipped out on another trip, like maybe what I did on LSD, except that this lasted. I was real and it was solid and it changed my life. ~ Lonnie Frisbee
So, then who will set the captive youth of today free? Who will proclaim the favorable day of the Lord? I wonder, will this generation’s young have ears to hear? Are they able to hear the truth in a culture where truth is relative? I’m sure people, like Chuck Smith once said the same of the dirty hippies of his day.
Remember – and see what the Spirit did. Open your hearts and lend an ear. Hear what the Spirit says. The captives can be set free.