There’s never been a more difficult time to be a young Christian in Australia. From attacks on religious freedom in schools to confusing messages about gender identity and same-sex marriage, young people in our churches are becoming increasingly disoriented by growing up in a world that’s more secular than ever before. And many are losing their way and getting completely knocked off course.
These are young people like 19-year-old Forrest (third from left). He says:
“I’d turn up to church, say the right things, get my spiritual fill, and forget it all by Monday morning. I’d go back to my other idols instead of worshipping God…I used to think ‘I’ll fully commit to God when I’m older’. I was still living primarily for myself.”
The result is deeply disturbing, as more than 33% of the youth and children who are currently active in our churches across Australia will stray from their walk with Christ after leaving school.
“I’d get a lot of encouragement at church,” Forrest says, “but everywhere else around me was pushing the excitement and the freedom of the next stage of life, or the next must-have material thing, or celebrities, or school marks and success…and I would care about those things more than God and what he had to say about how I should live.
“I think I probably was always trying to work out my identity and purpose and trying to reinvent myself according to who I was with or what was going on. I know now that my identity is in Christ…but at the time I was looking for it in all the wrong places.”
So many friends like you are answering God’s call to help lead the next generation forward by orienting the lives of our young people towards Christ at a time when so many are falling away from the faith. The stakes have never been higher – but the reward of seeing young people come to know life in Jesus is amazing!
Through Youthworks Year 13 gap year program Forrest heard the call to come to a deeper relationship with Christ…and responded! The difference between his old, confused life and the strong direction he has now is obvious.
“Year 13 helped me to see that my identity is rooted in Christ…and because I am secure in him and he has done it all, I’m free to love him and love others, and I have a hope for the future. My whole purpose and being is now centered around worshipping and serving him.
I think God’s way is the best way to live your life, but we can only know that and have that orientation for life through Jesus. He is the one who brings us back to God, who helps us understand his will, and who helps us become more like him.
Thank you for all you are doing to orient young people like Forrest to life in Jesus and lead the next generation forward through Youthworks Year 13 discipleship gap year program.