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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » John Bradshaw » John Bradshaw - Why Are Young People LEAVING Church?

John Bradshaw - Why Are Young People LEAVING Church?

John Bradshaw - Why Are Young People LEAVING Church?

Dr. Philip Samaan: Not everybody can play the piano. Uh, not everybody can do: can sing, for example, or preach. So we have to help our young people discover what their spiritual gifts are. I mean, everybody got some gifts. To focus on that, to let them know how God has gifted them, and provide effective ways to help them practice their gifts, and, and let them experience success. Start with something small and doable and let them experience success. I mentioned one of them. When I take my students to the nursing home, local nursing homes, it's a simple activity. They might bring a guitar, a smile, and when they realize how meaningful it is to talk to older people and how older people appreciate them so much, they're hooked; they want to do it again. That's a simple thing, doable thing, but they experience success and feel needed.

John Bradshaw: But churches have a real problem with young people. Let me tell you what it is. Some of these young people, they show up to church; they might have an earring in their ear. Oh, I've been to churches, you know, Dr. Samaan, and the boy was there and his hair was blue or the boy grew his hair long, or the girl shaved her head. I mean, Dr. Samaan, what are we going to do when we have young people like this?

Dr. Philip Samaan: What these kids need the least is for them to be condemned. They need to be appreciated and cherished, because no matter how they look like, the investment of Jesus' life is in each one of them. And that gives them a lot of self-worth. When I look at people like this, I see Jesus invested in them. How can you give up on them? There was a young man like this, who became like a hippie, body piercings, part of his head was green, the other part of his hair was blue, a sight to behold.

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Dr. Philip Samaan: So, he was gone out of the church for three years, doing all kinds of crazy things. And now the Lord convicted his heart to come back home, to come back to the fold. And this dear saint, who was, who was the greeter…

John Bradshaw: No…

Dr. Philip Samaan: …she meant, she meant well, just trying to be helpful.

John Bradshaw: You don’t want to say…

Dr. Philip Samaan: And she said…

John Bradshaw: No way.

Dr. Philip Samaan: …"Sonny", she called him Sonny, "Where have you been all of this? And, by the way, don't you know when you come to church, you should look presentable"? Now, she meant well by that. I'm not trying to condemn her or judge her.

John Bradshaw: Ouch.

Dr. Philip Samaan: This young man left and never came back. I tried to reach him. This has been many years. He said, "I'll never go back". He made a commitment never to come back because how he was welcomed when he came back. So we have to be very Christ-like, and look at each person like that and value them as we would value Jesus. Inasmuch as we do it to him, we do it to Jesus.

John Bradshaw: What do you think Jesus would do if, if He was in the synagogue, okay, not the synagogue, in the church, and a girl came in with a ring in her nose and a boy came in with a chain around his neck and long hair? I'm just picking on stereotypical things

Dr. Philip Samaan: Yes.

John Bradshaw: What would Jesus do…

Dr. Philip Samaan: Well…

John Bradshaw: …if a bunch of kids like that showed up at His church?

Dr. Philip Samaan: We know what He would do, don't we? I mean, after all, He had…and He was condemned for it, by the way, He was around harlots, prostitutes, tax collectors.

John Bradshaw: People with real issues.

Dr. Philip Samaan: Yeah, I mean, I'd rather have a guy with an earring than have a tax collector, you know, just, just cheating from people big time. I mean, you know, we should look at things in certain perspectives. And to me, to have somebody looking a certain way could be easier than dealing with some of the people Jesus dealt with. We just have to look at the potential, and ask the question, how would these people be when they really turn to Jesus?

John Bradshaw: Isn't it important that we see things in perspective? Some of the things that some of the saints give young people a hard time about are pretty small. I'm not excusing silly behavior or unwise behavior, but in the grand scheme of things, we can get pretty well exercised over things that in the big picture just don't mean a lot.

Dr. Philip Samaan: That's right. See, I don't like some of that for myself.

John Bradshaw: I recall coming to church; I was, I was holding meetings in British Columbia, and there was a young fellow whose name I don't remember. He was 22 or something, he looked about 22 years of age, and would come to church, and his hair is blue, bright blue. And, uh, a couple of dear old ladies walked in behind me, and I thought, "Well, this will be interesting". And they said, "Hello, Rodney," or whatever his name was. "Blue hair? What do you think, Edith"? "Oh, I like it". Although Edith said, "But, Rodney, I did like the green. I liked the green very much". They just loved him anyway.

Dr. Philip Samaan: Yes.

John Bradshaw: He, he never left the church. Finally figured out what he wanted to do with his hair.

Dr. Philip Samaan: Yes. If we see all of that from Christ's perspective… you see, we focus on what we think is important. If I focus on the color of their hair and all the body piercing, then that's what's important to me; that's a priority. But isn't there a greater priority?

John Bradshaw: There's a greater priority.

Dr. Philip Samaan: It goes beyond that to the salvation of this precious person, whom, in whom Jesus invested His life-giving blood. If you focus on that, then this hasn't become a big issue. And to me, the young people, or anybody, should never think of us that that's our focus, that's what we're in love with. They should think about us being in love with Jesus, and then, to me, the greatest gift to give them is to love them unconditionally in Jesus, and what's supposed to fall off with fall off. But even if it takes them longer, what choice do we have but to love them unconditionally? Jesus would do that. Remember, Jesus loved people to the end. He even loved Judas to the end.

John Bradshaw: That's right, He did.

Dr. Philip Samaan: And He loved the people who said, "Crucify Him"! to the very end when He was agonizing on the cross, and He prayed for them. And believe it or not, after the Pentecost, at the Spirit-anointed preaching of Peter, many of these things, many of these people who cried, "Crucify Him"! were converted to Jesus Christ. So that gives me hope. I mean, I don't think these people we're talking about are as bad as ones who shout, "Crucify Him"! and relish every bit of pain on His face.

John Bradshaw: Just very quickly, before we go to a break, we have just a few moments, give me some, just some practical, rapid-fire, bullet-point ways to get your young people involved in church in a meaningful way.

Dr. Philip Samaan: I'm so glad you love to minister to young people. At my age, and you're much younger than me.

John Bradshaw: Oh, much.

Dr. Philip Samaan: We’re interested in young people, because young people are the future of our church and God's work. They're going to finish the work. Quickly, a few things I mentioned to you, the first thing is, the first thing is, love them genuinely in Jesus. Let them feel that. Let them know that. Let them know. For example, as a teacher, you know, I mean, Christian education is more than giving a lecture.

John Bradshaw: Right.

Dr. Philip Samaan: It’s the investment of ourselves in our young people. It, it is not just the cognitive; it's the effective. It's not just the meeting of mind with mind, but heart with heart. Because life the biggest, they have to know that. And that's why I know in my teaching, you know, I want to follow Christ's example of teaching. In this I am accessible. I'm an old-fashioned professor; I make house calls. Does that sound old-fashioned? That means I mingle with students as one desiring their good, and use Christ's approach. I mean, after that, then you discover what their talents is, where their gifts are; you lead them into witnessing. Witnessing, if they really experience leading their classmates to Christ, that's very effective. Provide opportunities to do mission work. When we send our kids overseas, they come back transformed. Because we live in a culture where everything is so provided; everything is so easy, challenge them. Give them a cause bigger than themselves. Send them to Colombia, send them to Honduras, and they come back appreciating Jesus, appreciating the blessings, and, and provide opportunities. And let's not focus on entertainment, okay? Youth ministry used to be defined as entertainment. They have enough entertainment in the world.

John Bradshaw: That's right.

Dr. Philip Samaan: Training. "An army of youth well-trained will finish the work".

John Bradshaw: Yes, it will.
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