This summer has been an interesting one as I have had an unusually high number of conversations with young people about what they believe. I am surprised by how many high schoolers and young adults were raised in the church, including Foursquare churches, who have said, “I donʻt believe in God,” and “I had enough religion!”
My response is hopefully surprising to them too when I say, “Me too! I had enough religion too.” After asking a bunch of questions, I see so much of what has turned them off was a set of rules that dictates how they should behave. All they got from church and enforced by their parents is “the law.”
When I grew up I felt guilty not following the law, so I performed to be accepted and loved by my parents and projected this same relationship on God.
If I behaved then God will love me, which often translated into Iʻll never be good enough for God to love me, or at some point God will just give up and leave me. These foundational beliefs affect my thoughts, my emotions and my behavior.
Pastor Nick Gough says we are in a “meta modern not post modern world. For all people, but especially young people, meta is very experiential. Experience is very relevant for this generation.” Iʻve been praying for more ways to give this next generation an experience of God. A word of knowledge for them is a surprising way to open the door. I told a kid last week at a park, “God saw you laying in bed and crying out to him.” That shook him up, and he received Jesus. Another fruitful way is healing miracle. Sometimes itʻs a physical healing, but more often lately for me, it is a deep emotional healing starting when they hear God for themselves. And this always opens the door to relationship with Him not religion.
Letʻs be people of grace who multiplies believers, by blessing them, by asking lots of genuine questions, by inviting others to a personal relationship with the Father through Jesus. And after we pray, and baptize them in water and the Holy Spirit, invite them to the PSW District Conference in Escondido, CA!