As We Watch Youth Fall

Posted: Jun 29, 2023

A commentary by Rebekah, my 21 year old daughter who works for Blazing Grace, follows this one.

Imagine you’re a business owner. Your company has 100 employees, 10 of whom are managers that you’ve entrusted the success of the company with. In just several months, something has gone wrong. Sales tank, taking cash flow down with it. After looking at a summary of customer sales, you’re shocked to see that 75% of all new customers are walking away after the first purchase.

What would you do?

I’d call my management team in, go over the numbers, and demand answers. If all I got was blank looks in response, it wouldn’t be their best day. I would take one of two actions:

  1. Give them one week to come up with a rescue plan. If their plan included immediate, radical changes, was realistic, and had potential, they’d be given several months to turn everything around. Any employees under their supervision that were dead weight would be gone. We’d focus on building around those who were emotionally invested in the company. There would be a sense of urgency; I would want results now.
  2. Fire all or most of the management team immediately and build around a new group. This might slow the recovery process down as training new employees takes time and there’s no guarantee they will work out. Taking the first option would be my preference.

I continually hear stories of Christian youth whose lives are being destroyed. The large majority are floundering in sexual issues, such as pornography, promiscuity, or other forms of the sexually charged crazy we’re all swimming in today. I interviewed a mom on our radio show who shared that her 17 year old son told her that he’d been addicted to porn since the age of 9. We have middle-aged men who come to us for help with porn whose sons are also addicted.

Suicide is now the #2 killer of our youth, second only to accidental death. I heard one story of a church-going 19- year-old who ended his life. Then there’s the occult media our youth are being tempted with. On our radio show, Sarah Anne Sumpolec, a former witch turned to Christ, shared how she gets mobbed by youth when she speaks at churches.

For more than 20 years we’ve been hearing surveys showing that 75% of Christian youth exit the church by their early twenties. One recent survey showed that 28% percent of Gen Z and Millenials attend church at least once a month. My adult kids tell me they see friends they knew who attended Christian school who have walked away all the time. We’re losing our youth at an accelerated rate.

Yet, we don’t hear of this massive hemorrhaging of youth from the pulpit, and it’s rarely brought up in Christian news circles.


Lose youth, and we lose the church. Lose the church, and the country isn’t far behind. Lest we forget how critical our youth are and their place in Biblical history, David was in his mid-teens when he took down Goliath, Solomon was 20 when he became king, Jeremiah was believed to be 17 when he was anointed by God as a prophet, and Mary was a teenager when she gave birth to Jesus, among others. Are we giving our youth a vision that they can be a warrior like David, a truth-speaking prophet like Jeremiah, or a world-changer like Mary who had an intimate relationship with God? Or is all we’re sending our youth out with to the intense warfare they’re facing is “learn verses and be good?”

Where is the sense of urgency?? As a father of 4, the idea of my kids having a one in four chance of making it to eternity with God is of deep concern. I’m on my knees every day praying for them; some days, with tears.

Losing youth in high numbers over several decades can only mean that we’re failing miserably as a church. We’ve failed to help them in the areas they’re struggling with or equip them in the fierce battles they’re facing with an enemy who comes at them hard to steal, kill and destroy. Awana-level Bible studies won’t get it done. We must equip them in the arenas of spiritual warfare, openly discuss sexual topics of every kind including porn, masturbation, promiscuity, sexting, and other areas, and warn them about the traps of the occult and internet addiction, among other areas. We must show them how to have an effective prayer life and make prayer a priority.

Why do I bring up internet addiction? A Microsoft survey found that 77 percent of young adults answered “yes” when asked, “When nothing is occupying my attention, the first thing I reach for is my phone.” Many adults have distracted themselves into a spiritual coma and passed their phone-addiction onto their kids… who are now getting smart-devices as early as age 3.

Then there are video games. Estimates are that the average male will have spent 10,000 hours playing video games by the time he’s 21. Research continues to surface that young men are taking longer to mature due to porn and video games.

Video games have no place in a church. Church is supposed to be a sacred boot camp, not a playground. Many parents are letting their kids do what they want without shepherding them or telling them NO when needed.

Most churches won’t touch these areas with their adults, so the parents haven’t been equipped and adults are falling away too. When is the last time you heard in- depth messages on porn, masturbation, sex, spiritual warfare, or the occult at your church? Or saw a pastor in tears who was grieved at the massive outflow of youth from the church and dead-set on doing something about it?

I know, I just crossed a line. Everyone is supposed to be happy and stoic at church.

What a disaster. Our apathy, and lukewarm, comfort-driven approach to the Christian life is playing a major part in sending many to an eternity away from the Lord. Better that we close the doors for several weeks, spend it in prayer, and rebuild the Biblical way then keep going as we are.

Throughout the Bible, God hit the specific areas and sins His people were struggling with, even to the point of naming names. See chapters two and three in the book of Revelation for plenty of examples. Why are we not doing the same, instead of dancing around these issues that people need help with?!

“Sorry, we’re in the middle of our verse by verse study of the book of (fill in the blank). We don’t talk about hell, sex, porn, or the occult on Sunday morning. My church doesn’t have a problem with that stuff. And masturbation isn’t in the Bible. Don’t you know that will turn people off?”

You’re fired.

If you think my words are hard, read Gods:

“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.  “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
Revelation 3:14-22

Being upchucked out of God’s mouth is a severe way of saying He rejects lukewarm, comfort-driven, arrogant churches that aren’t challenging and equipping their flocks.

“Be zealous and repent” begins by confessing the truth, including our pride. We’ve failed to equip our youth and the adults. We own it, grieve it, cry out to God for mercy. We stop dancing around the tough topics and jump all the way in and equip our youth and the adults in these areas. We spend time in prayer and sharing every Sunday. No more isolated, prayerless churches. Our goal is to create overcomers, spiritual warriors, and fighters; Davids who take down Goliaths, Jeremiahs who boldly speak the truth, Marys who have an intimate love relationship with the Lord.

The good news is that God gave the Laodicean church a shot at zealous repentance.
We need prayer warriors and fighters with a sense of urgency to step in and take the action steps that will create a turn-around.

The spiritual awakening in the Hebrides islands off the coast of Scotland in 1950 is a powerful story of prayer-soaked revival. After the churches there became alarmed that they had lost their youth, two sisters in their eighties, Peggy and Christine Smith, proposed that they hold two all-night prayer meetings a week. It was these prayer meetings, not sermons, special events, programs, conferences, or videos, that sparked the spiritual awakening and brought their youth running back to the church.

These were Peggy Smith’s words to one of the ministers:

“I’m sure, Mr. McCie, that you’re longing to see God working. What about calling your office bearers together and suggest to them that you spend two nights a week waiting upon God in prayer. You’ve tried mission, you’ve tried special evangelists. Mr. McCie, have you tried God?”

You can read the story of the Hebrides Revival on The Rogue Christian website here:

My Perspective

By Rebekah Genung (age 21)

What I see with the youth is they are hungry and searching for fulfillment from something, and if they are not finding it in the church, they will try to find it in other things such as relationships, substances, pornography, occult… etc. I have seen a lot of youth get into zodiac signs, and not realize that it is witchcraft, or more and more are interested in witchcraft. I have gotten videos on my Instagram of teenagers explaining how to become a witch and cast spells, and I don’t even search for those videos.

Youth group at church for me felt like high school. There were cliques and it felt hard to feel accepted by the other kids. There was a foosball table, air hockey machine, and always loud music playing. Not that there is anything wrong with those things, but it felt more like a place to play, rather than a place to worship and encounter God. If the youth are not being equipped at church or at home, sadly I am not surprised by the statistics above.

Parents, I want to encourage you to be involved with your children, to talk openly about these topics, and to teach them right from wrong in God’s eyes. If they don’t hear it from you, they will search for it on their own and could find it in the wrong places.