Numerous voices tell us that young people increasingly desert the Christian faith. The vast majority of the “Nones” (those who claim to attend no church) are young. Fewer young men seek to be preachers. Sunday school attendance wanes. What do we do?
The question takes center stage in the book of Deuteronomy. The older generation died in the wilderness. The next generation stood on the border between the Promised Land and the Wilderness listening to the oldest man in the camp talk about the faith. In one of the longest chapters in the Bible about passing on the faith Moses said, “God has commanded me to teach you . . . so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 6:1, 2).”
Moses spends Deuteronomy 6 talking about passing on the faith to the next generation. He puts the responsibility for that task on the older generation. He speaks to parents and grandparents and those who are not parents. “Hear, O Israel” reminds everybody in his audience that it takes the entire older generation to pass on the faith to the next generation. The task of passing on the faith cannot be restricted to the parents or the youth minister. The responsibility belongs to each of us.
Most of us can tell how a significant adult influenced us as a child. Not a mother or father, but somebody in the Christian community who made a difference in our direction. That’s critical for all of us. But equally critical is this question: Is there a young person in your community who can say that you are the one who made a difference in their life?
Pass on the faith. It’s your job.